After reading over 400 submissions from 37 countries, we are delighted to reveal the shortlist for the 2019 Author of Tomorrow award, along with a little information on each story.

One of the aspects we love most about working with young writers is the unfettered imagination we see in so many of their short stories. It is possible to have an adventure in 500 words, or to be transported to an entirely new world in less than 5000. Congratulations to all those shortlisted: 

11 and under|500 words or less: 

A Race through Time by Laksh Verma (age 11)

On a cool foggy day, I step into a telephone box and whoosh into a space-time continuum, landing in 3019. The houses are funny, there are flying cars and when the police officer thinks I am illegal, I run away, only to find myself back in the future again.

The Midnight Zone by Ewan Hart (age 9)

An adventurer travels to the bottom of the sea only to find his sub has been attacked by a dangerous creature of legend.

The Phoenix Feather by Clara Macdonald (age 11)

A brave adventurer tries to capture the mysterious, magical phoenix. But the Phoenix will not go quietly…

12-15 years|1500 - 5000 words:

A Drop in the Ocean by Kay Richards (age 12)

Kyra's fisherman father discovers a terrible conspiracy when he's out fishing one evening. After threatening to go the papers, he and Kyra's mother are in a car crash but their bodies are never found. Kyra vows to discover the truth about what happened to her parents and expose the environmental disaster they had discovered.

A Scarred White Stone by Jonathan Clark (age 15)

Ancient sorcery, fighting dwarves, legends from the past. A stone engraved with mysterious writing sends Derrin onto a journey deep into the Wild Northlands. What will he find there as his land's past rises into the present?

The Lament of Orphia by Eshana Dasanjh (age 15)

Ever since Orphia's grandmother died, she has been living a life of pain and emptiness. Nobody understands or listens to her. Named after Orpheus, Orphia decides to follow in his footsteps and travel to the Underworld to bring her grandmother back. The only difference is, she won't make the same mistakes he did. She will be successful.

16-21 years|1500 - 5000 words:

An Adventure at Sea by Meg Lintern (age 16)

A young refugee attempts a near-fatal crossing of the Mediterranean Sea with her younger brother, inventing adventure stories along the way to protect him from reality.

And the Rain Will Come from the Mountain by Innocent Ilo (age 21)

Zim is a young boy who sets off to Mmili Mountain to save his village from drought. He is armed with his strength, wisdom, and a magical map his late father drew for him.

Cold by Ryan Bridges (age 18)

A fire-based religion holds the majority of the medieval kingdom's power. Malcolm Darkfire, a devoted follower the religion and adopted son of the head priest, is tasked with investigating a small mining town called Sparkhill. When Malcolm decides to go beyond his mission, he pays a terrible price for his arrogance.

Rot by Magdalena Deniz (age 18)

While traveling along the Oregon Trail with his father from their failed farm in Missouri, a young boy comes to terms with what it means to be a man in Western America.

Each of the shortlisted authors will work with our partners at Worldreader, to have their stories edited and digitally published. Each of the stories will also now go to our young judging panel who will be responsible for deciding the final winner of each category, to be announced at the Adventure Writing Prize awards ceremony in London on 12th September.

For the first time, we are also commending a number of stories alongside those selected for the shortlist. Each of these writers displayed great potential through sheer originality, authorial voice or impressive technical skill. All of the authors will also receive a certificate of commendation in September.

11 and under: A Cat's Work by Layla Wilson (11), A Rainforest Adventure by Shira Woolfson (11), Little Desire and the Witch Mithona by Pavel Pavlov (9), Max and the Manor by Anurag Dastidar (9), Roar-some Feathers by David Essien (9), The Death and Birth of a Kingdom by Alex Freeman (10), To Fly Alone by Naomi Sutton (10)

12-15 years: Code Espionage by Sahil Lowalekar (13), Surprise for the Small-Mother by Uma Menon (15), The Climb by Liam Donoher, The Hawk Roosting by Henry Tesson-Fell (15), The Nighthawk by Filip Matyla (12), Through the Brick Wall by Lydia Kent (15), Sea of Souls by Ibukunoluwa Adebayo (14)

16-21 years: A Boy and his Dog by Alex Atkinson (17), A Red Dawn by Charlotte Williams (20), Atlas Rising by Taylor Gardner (19), The Hunt by Brianna Witte (21), The Miracles of Eluna Khine by Alex Bestwick (19), This Isn't About Her by Salvador Tinajero (20)

A huge thank you to the readers and reviewers who volunteered their time with us over the last couple of months. We're looking forward to reading the stories again when they are published and available in the Worldreader library.