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Nesta launches £15,000 prize for new forms of storytelling

Nesta launches £15,000 prize for new forms of storytelling

Nesta has launched Alternarratives, an open prize for writers and creatives to explore new ways of using short-form narrative to engage young people with reading and storytelling.

Nesta is making the £15,000 prize available to the best example of innovative accessible short-form storytelling for young people (aged 11-16/KS3 and 4). Entries should be consumable in less than ten minutes on a readily available platform such as a mobile phone or a tablet, although entries do not have to be digital.

Alternarratives is officially launching at Nesta’s FutureFest Lates event at the Barbican Conservatory in London today, (Thursday 24 October). The event, titled ‘The Future of Storytelling’, will feature contributions from writer and critic Olivia Laing, sci-fi author Stephen Oram, artist and performer David Finnigan and games developer Chella Ramanan.

The prize closes to initial entries on 13 January 2020, with entries longlisted for an R&D bursary by a panel of young people. Nesta will then work with longlisted entrants to develop and finalise their projects before the winner is selected with an expert panel and announced in June 2020.

Rachael Bull, Alternarratives Programme Manager, said:

“Stories are a key part of how people understand and build the world around them – from fact to fiction, books to films, these experiences become touch stones throughout our lives. Even in traditional form, a brilliant short story can be a completely unforgettable immersive experience. Technology has radically changed our interaction with stories, from the extended narrative form of streaming television and story-led video games that draw us further into their worlds than ever before, even to the point where we’re shaping them ourselves.

“We can’t wait to see entries from writers and creatives who welcome this opportunity to develop bold ideas into ground-breaking content, which we hope will engage a whole generation of readers with a new iteration of a time-honoured form.”


Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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