Here at Trinity we are delighted to launch The Litmus Creative Writing Project 2024 – an opportunity for year 9-11 students currently attending state school (or on a full scholarship to a fee-paying school) in the UK to submit a short piece of writing of under 500 words in poetry, prose or any other format (including artwork) based around a theme for publication.

In this its fourth year we’re following on from the first three years’ brilliant response to the themes of ‘in common’ , ‘the green light’, ‘the writing on the wall‘ and ‘over the border‘, which saw us receive hundreds of creative, original submissions from young people all over the UK, with a new prompt announced by acclaimed author Ali Smith (which you can discover below).

This Year’s Theme: Hostile Environment

Are you a writer? Do you want to write? If YES: good. Continue reading this message.

Are you a student in year 9, 10 or 11 and interested in writing – fiction, or non-fiction, or poetry, or maybe graphic novel writing, or blog writing – in other words in writing and storytelling that can take any shape or form you want?

If NO, then this invite isn’t for you. Pass it on to someone who wants to write and would like to be published.

If YES: Good. Continue reading this message.

What comes into your head when you hear or read or think about the phrase hostile environment?

It’s a phrase used often in the media nowadays. It’s used politically very powerfully. It’s a phrase that’s been around for a while, at least fifteen years, in this usage. It’s now commonly used to suggest a policy whereby life and its surroundings are purposefully made difficult by one set of human beings for another set of human beings.

Take the word environment. It’s a word that’s seven centuries old. Its original meaning was “surroundings, encirclement, enclosure”. A little later in its English history it even meant things like “betterment” and “merriment”. Only in the 1960s was it first used as a word meaning something more ecological. Right now, in an era of climate emergency, its meaning is particularly heightened.

The word hostile is also centuries old. Originally it meant “belonging to an enemy,” or “characteristic of enemies”. It comes from a word root where it meant everything from “stranger” to “guest”. Now it mostly means things like “unfriendly” and “aggressive”.

Writing anything at all means a paying of close attention to what happens to how things mean at every level, but especially at the immediate level of what happens when one word simply meets another.

What happens to these two words – and to how words and their meanings meet reality – when you add the word hostile to the word environment?

The Litmus is a writing initiative for UK-wide school students. We’re looking for student writing or artwork of any and every sort, and this year we’re inviting submissions up to 500 words which consider the phrase hostile environment in any way you like or any way that inspires you.

Make something of it. Send us what you write or make, we’ll publish it in our online magazine. We’ll also publish our favourite pieces in book form at the end of the school year. You’ll become part of a writing collective like no other, a collective that will act as a touchstone for readers interested in what your generation is doing, thinking and writing right now.

Write about what hostile environment means to you. We’ll be proud to publish what you write.

Be part of The Litmus.

Want to be a part of The Litmus?

We welcome artwork and writing of up to 500 words around the theme ‘hostile environment’, open to UK students between Year 9 and Year 11 currently studying at a non-fee paying school (or in receipt of a full scholarship). Deadline for entries is 19 July 2024.

Email [email protected] with any questions, or to withdraw or change your submission.