Children urged to creative with stories for new National Express app

Author Caryl Hart with National Express driver Richard Bacon
Author Caryl Hart with National Express driver Richard Bacon

A children’s author is calling on budding young authors in Gainsborough to get their literary careers in top gear and ‘express’ themselves in an all-new national writing competition.

Writer Caryl Hart has been chosen by National Express to launch its Express Yourself short story competition, launched in celebration of the coach company’s new onboard entertainment system VUER (View, Unwind, Enjoy, Relax) which has just launched.

Caryl is joining the UK’s largest coach operator in a call for children aged four to 16 to get creative and submit short stories inspired by the theme of happy travelling.

Youngsters are invited to let their creative juices run riot and submit original travel tales.

Inspiration can come from anywhere – be it their own real-life experiences or something from the depths of their imaginations.

The winning stories from the primary school and the secondary school age categories will then be published in an online storybook in VUER, for passengers to enjoy as they travel - they will have a chance to be read by the millions of people who travel with National Express every year.

Each winner will also get a £50 cheque as prize money.

Launching on services in the midlands VUER is a complimentary app service offering films, TV and magazines entirely free of charge.

The app, which allows customers to enjoy hours of free entertainment – as well as news, weather and journey updates and plus free WiFi - on their own devices from the comfort of their seat, affords the ideal platform to enable children to get creative and have their stories seen by millions.

Caryl is well known for her best-selling and award-winning children’s books including How to Grow a Dinosaur, Whiffy Wilson, Don’t Dip Your Chips in Your Drink, Kate and “he Princess and the Giant, which won the Geoffrey Trease prize at the East Midlands Book Awards this year.

Caryl said: “I’d love every child in Gainsborough to have a go, it doesn’t matter if you think you’re not a writer, everyone has a story.

“Writing is one of the best ways of expressing your ideas, unlocking your creative side, and this is a great opportunity to share it, good luck.”

Tom Stables, National Express UK coach managing director, added: “Every year we take millions of people on a journey, now to celebrate VUER, we are turning the tables are asking youngsters in Gainsborough to take us on a journey.

“Express Yourself is a really unique opportunity for budding young authors to get their literary careers in top gear and we’re looking for really inspiring stories to delight our customers.

“We can’t wait to start receiving the entries.”

Entrants should write a story of up to, but no more than, 1,000 words, and they have until January 31 to submit it to

Alternatively, children can post stories to The Story Team, National Express House, Mill Lane Birmingham B5 6DD.