Express Yourself: How creative schoolchildren will have their short stories read by millions thanks to our competition

Kids these days – they’re crafty little devils. What with their enviable imaginations and Rowling-inspired writing skills. Oh yes, they haven’t gone unnoticed and, as part of our ‘Youth Promise’ to give back to young people across the UK, we at National Express launched a nationwide creative writing competition for schoolchildren.

Known better as: ‘Express Yourself,’ we challenged both primary and secondary school students to put pen to paper and submit their short stories to us. The prize? Winning entries would be read by MILLIONS (#claimtofame) and published on VUER, our free onboard entertainment and Wi-Fi app.

It’s safe to say, we were blown away by the amazing standard of entries and wanted only the very best in the writing world to crown our worthy winners. So, we gave UK children’s authors, Rachel Lindsey from Crewe, and the South West’s Huw Powell (author of the popular Spacejackers series), the challenging task of picking their favourites. Like us, they loved the quality of stories, with Huw emphasizing the clever use of language, strong characters and constant imagination throughout.

We had thousands of fantastic entries and, in the end, we crowned 12 winners. Now, their stories are set to be featured in a special ‘Travel Tales’ book for children which will be available to read for free on VUER when travelling with us.

A little bit about some of our budding writers

We asked students to let their imaginations run wild and take us on a literary journey. Needless to say, the creative juices were flowing strong and they didn’t disappoint. Here’s a few of the stories to get you started …


    Of the 12 winners, first up is Jack. A fourteen year old Spennymoor schoolboy, Jack wrote ‘Eleanor and Cameron: The prequel to the Princess at Hell’s Rift,’ an exciting tale of daring do about a young lady who dreams about living in a castle.


    Tiggy – another one of our winners, penned a piece called ‘The Posted Cat,’ about a cat trained to collect the post …who ends up being posted himself! The judges were wowed with the story’s characterisation and originality.


    Next up is William. Inspired by a real-life trip to the Somme to research his family history, he wrote the touching story ‘100 Year’s On,’ which was hailed by the judges for being way beyond his years.


    Freya’s imaginative tale ‘An Unexpected Adventure’ took the judges to the depths of the jungle and was all about a magical carpet ride. They were particularly impressed with the story’s well-thought-out structure.


    And finally, we have Megan. She wrote a laugh out loud story called the ‘Magic Bus Ride,’ a fantastical bus trip back in time. Highly creative and equally hilarious, our judges were full of praise (and in fits of giggles too!).

    From all of us at National Express, we’d just like to say a big congratulations to our winners and thank you to everyone that entered. You’re a rather talented bunch, you know, and we’re looking forward to reading many more of your works in years to come. When your books are filling shelves throughout the country, send us a signed copy, deal?

If you’d like to read the short stories in Travel Tales, simply download VUER from the Apple or Android app store store on your phone or tablet before you travel. They’ll then be streamed over Wi-Fi during the journey. Happy reading!