Clever Competitions


Picture credit: Harry Harrison, The Tale of Run Run Rat

Kung Hei Fat Choi! It’s Chinese New Year! My feisty Run Run Rat is telling his family all about his adventurous plans for his trip around China. His mum is busy baking some delicious steam buns for a Chinese New Year feast! His dad is taking a break from his hard work as a miner, and his big sister is STILL filing her claws!! As for Run Run’s little brother – he’s wondering how many egg tarts he can gobble up before his mum notices!

So it’s high time we had another writing competition!

It’s open to anyone, anywhere in the world who is:

  • a primary or elementary school student from Grade 1 to Grade 6
  • or home-educated students of equivalent stage

This time I want you to write me a story about a rascally Rat, set in China, with the following further ingredients:

  • a Chinese emperor
  • a brainy princess
  • three magic tangerines
  • an evil talking dumpling
  • the colour malachite (if you don’t know what that is, then look it up!)
  • a long drought


  • you must use at least 3 of my Wicked Words correctly! Extra points will be given if you use more!
  • your story must be no more than 1,000 words long including the title.

As usual, I’ll be looking for all the ingredients of a riveting story. So make sure that you have:

  • an arresting title
  • a great beginning
  • an interesting challenge or problem for the characters to solve
  • an exciting climax and
  • a memorable ending!

And of course you’ll also need to include:

  • lots of detail about your Chinese setting, including the place, the season, the weather and the era when your story is set
  • lots of interesting descriptions of your characters, so I know a bit about them! Not just how they look, but also their character and anything special about them.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I’ll be looking for:

  • originality – the more imaginative and original the better!
  • a great plot
  • interesting vocabulary
  • wonderful descriptions
  • good grammar – especially ensure that you keep your tenses consistent!
  • excellent writing style
  • and lastly, that special X-factor that makes your story stand out from the others!

Please remember that I do check for plagiarism, and if I find any I will have to report it to your school, and you won’t be allowed into my competitions again.

Once you’ve written your story please send it to me:

  • typed in a simple font (Times New Roman size 12 is just fine)
  • please DO NOT include illustrations or special fonts, boxes or underlining – I am only interested in your writing, and they may make it hard for me to publish your story if you are one of the finalists
  • please include at the top of your story your full name, age, class or grade at school, the name of your school (and campus if more than one), your city and country
  • please send your story in a Word document attached to an email, OR you can paste your story directly into your email
  • and email to me at
  • please type Rascally Rat Tale Competition into the subject box
  • I will acknowledge receipt of all entries prior to commencing the judging.

There will be two categories: Grade One to Three, and Grade Four to Six. The top SIX stories in each category will be published on my blog and the FIRST PLACE WINNER in each of the two categories will win a free signed copy of the Chinese Calendar Tale of their choice, as well as a Boxed Set of the Chinese Calendar Tales for their school library!

I will be the sole judge, and all entries will be anonymised before I begin judging to ensure fairness. The results will be posted on my blog as soon as possible after the deadline date. Please note that no correspondence about the results will be entered into after they are announced.

The deadline date for this competition is midnight, Friday 17th April 2020.

I can’t wait to read your entry!



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