Clever Competitions


A very Happy Chinese New Year to you all! It’s the Year of the Rabbit – and high time for another Clever Competition!

Now before I say anything else, I KNOW that Rabbits in the Chinese Zodiac are a very civilized, polite and law-abiding! But as we all know, that naughty Rhonda Rabbit is a rebel from north of the border, who spends her time being extremely UN-civilized, IM-polite and breaking every law Qin Shi Huang puts in her way! She is NOT a Chinese Zodiac type of rabbit but is here to remind us that there’s an exception to every rule, and more importantly, we should put a rabbit-proof fence around our vegetables!

So for this Clever Competition, I’d like you to write me a story about a rogue rabbit! Here are the rules (and remember, I use my list of rules as a template when I’m marking entries, so for top marks, be sure to pay attention!


  • Your story must have a title
  • It must be no longer than 1,000 words not including the title
  • Your story must be set in China
  • The main character must be a rogue rabbit
  • You must also include:
    • a sad Chinese empress
    • a singing watermelon
    • six wily Amur hedgehogs
    • a cheerful Oriental Stork
    • an extreme weather event
    • the colour zaffre (and if you don’t know that colour, you’ll have to look it up!)
    • And at least FOUR of my Wicked Words! Extra points for those who use more!

I’ll be looking for:

  • An enticing title
  • An attention-grabbing beginning
  • An unusual conflict or problem to be solved
  • An interesting development of that conflict or problem
  • An exciting climax
  • A solid resolution that ties up all the problems
  • A memorable ending

I’ll award high marks for:

  • lots of detail with your setting including when and where, what era, what season, what weather
  • lots of interesting information about your characters – their age, personality, appearance, past history, any special skills
  • excellent style
  • great vocabulary (in addition to those Wicked Words!)
  • great grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • originality
  • and that elusive X-Factor that makes your story stand out from everyone else’s!


Please type up your story on a Word Document and send attached to an email to Alernatively, you can simply cut and paste your story into the body of your email.

Please make the subject of your email: Competition No. 40: The Tale of a Rogue Rabbit

Please include your

  • full name
  • age
  • year at school
  • name of school
  • campus of school where relevant

I will acknowledge receipt of your entry within 14 days. If you haven’t heard from me by then, please resubmit.


There will be two categories in the Competition, Years 1 to 3, and Years 4 to 6. Please note that I do not judge by age, since the competition is international and school-starting ages are different in different countries. So the number of years you have been at school is a fairer way to judge entrants. And if you’re in Year 4, fear not, there have been many winners in the past from Year 4s even though they have been competing against the Year 6s! Your talent is not defined by your age!

As usual, I am the sole judge of the competition, and my decision will be final. No correspondence will be entered into after the announcement of results.


Results will be posted on my blog as soon as possible after the competition deadline date. Keep checking my blog to check the progress of the judging! In addition I will write to all prizewinners individually to notify of their success, and will notify all schools of the names of their students who entered the competition, with their results.



The deadline for the competition is midnight GMT on Sunday 30th April.

So what are you waiting for? Get out those pens and START HOPPING!!

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