Celebrate this year's National Storytelling Week by entering our Paralympic Heritage competition

Competition runs from Monday 15th January until Monday 26th February 2024.
Winner announced on Monday 4th March.

National Storytelling Week is an annual celebration of the art of storytelling across the UK organised by the Society of Storytelling.

At the National Paralympic Heritage Trust we join this annual celebration of storytelling because we believe, as does the Society for Storytelling, that ‘stories belong to everyone’ and we, as an organisation, are privileged to collect personal stories in the voices of those involved in the early days of the Paralympic Movement through to the present day. 

During this week we invite you or your school or community group to join us in practising the art of storytelling by exploring the messages behind how the Paralympic Movement started.  We invite you to use the senses to enhance the telling of that story as we broaden the focus for this year’s competition to HOW we tell a story. 

The Competition

The story of the Paralympic Games began as a consequence of change. Dr Guttmann was a German, Jewish refugee who came to England with his family during the second world war.  Leaving his friends and other members of his family behind and moving to a new country must have been difficult for him, his wife and two children and they will have noticed lots of differences in what they saw, what they heard and how their new environment felt.

The house in Oxford where Dr Guttmann lived when he moved to England which recently received a Blue Plaque. 
Eva Loeffler OBE (Dr Guttmann's daughter) centre alongside the Lord Mayor of Oxford and the Chair of the County Council. 
Image © Stephanie Jenkins, Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board, 2023

Taking Dr Guttmann’s story as inspiration, we want you to theme your story around moving to a new house or a new school or community. Some of you may want to have your characters moving to a new planet! In your story, explore how change can lead to something amazing happening, just like when Dr Guttmann’s move to England ultimately led to the evolution of the Paralympic Games.  

Write your story in 500 words or less and emphasise throughout what your characters feel, see, hear, smell or taste as they explore their new home through the senses. Can you add actions to your story to bring it to life?

Now is your time to get creative! Looking for inspiration? Here's some help.

Please send your story to [email protected] no later than Monday 26th February.  Alternatively you might like to post your entry in the Heritage Centre gold postbox.  (Please mark your entry NPHT Storytelling Competition). 

The winner will be announced on Monday 4th March 2024.

The Prize

The winning story will be developed alongside the author ready for public performance.  It will be read by our resident writer, Steve Katon, and performed to a captive audience in the Heritage Centre on Friday 12th April.  The story will also feature on our website for your friends and family to see. 

The winner will also have a 1-2-1 session with Steve, where you can discuss your story in detail and ask his thoughts on any burning questions you have about story writing.

Message from Writer Steve Katon

Hello fellow writers!

I'm excited to read your stories and can't wait to see what you all make up!

I've loved storytelling all my life, I really enjoy learning and understanding how and why stories work, knowing what makes a good one, but really, I just love the thrill of escaping into another world.

I'm really lucky to be studying stories at university and am looking into how all kinds of people can be included in stories, I'm also lucky to work a lot with the Paralympic Heritage Trust which lets me do really fun and interesting things like reading your stories to an audience for the first time.

Good luck!