It’s time to unleash your imagination as BBC Northern Ireland’s short story competition, Two Minute Tales, makes its return. The theme for 2023 is ‘What Happened this Winter…’ and the competition has officially commenced following its launch on the Lynette Fay Show on BBC Radio Ulster.

Lynette says: “Two Minute Tales is one of the highlights of the year on The Lynette Fay Show. I am always blown away by the very high standard of writing in all age groups. The stories that our young people submit are like big winter hugs, full of imagination and personality.”

This competition welcomes children aged between five and 16, and the judging panel is in search of stories that offer a unique and original narrative, complete with captivating characters.

The submitted stories will be categorised into four groups, introducing an Irish language category for the first time. These are: ages five to eight, ages nine to 12, ages 13 to 16, and Irish language ages five to 11.

Each category will have one winner and two runners-up.

The victors will witness their stories come to life through a tailor-made animation, featured on the BBC website leading up to Christmas.

All shortlisted stories, both winners and runners-up, will be recorded as audio pieces, voiced by actors from Northern Ireland. These will be broadcast on the Lynette Fay Show during the week commencing Monday, 18th December 2023. The Irish language stories will be featured on BBC Radio Ulster’s Blas programme on Tuesday, 19th December.

Additionally, all shortlisted writers will receive a specially commissioned illustrated storybook featuring their tale.

This year’s English language competition judges include Kelly McCaughrain, the Children’s Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland from 2019 to 2021, acclaimed writer Lucy Caldwell, illustrator Barry Falls, and David Monahan, Editor for Education at BBC Northern Ireland. The judges for the Irish language category are writers Máire Zepf and Caitríona Nic Sheáin, alongside Roisin Kelleher, Editor for BBC Gaeilge.

The competition is currently open, and all entries must be submitted by 8 pm on Tuesday, 7th November. For further details, competition guidelines, and privacy information, please visit: