Do you have the creativity to write a great robot story?

This is your chance you show off your imagination and take the readers on an adventure into the world of robotics and intelligent machines.

We’re looking for exciting, intriguing, and thoughtful short stories all about robots.

Enter now for a chance to win some incredible prizes!

Once Upon a Robot is open to children aged between 7 and 11 years old*.

* Read our Terms and Conditions for full details about competition eligibility.

You’ll need to use your imagination to create believable characters and a compelling plot.

Think about when and where your story is set and how you will communicate that to the reader.

What challenges will your characters face?

How will the robotic adventure end?

Top Tip

Try writing a first draft, leaving it for a few days and then re-reading what you wrote – it’ll help you make your final story much better!


  • Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor kit
    – contributed by competition partner Birmingham Extreme Robotics Lab
  • A tour of the Extreme Robotics Lab in Birmingham and a robotics masterclass from RobotCoders for the winner and a friend
  • Printed copy of the winning story with bespoke illustrations by illustrator and science communicator Hana Ayoob
  • A copy of the books “The Good Turn” and “Black Artists Shaping the World”, signed by competition judge Sharna Jackson
  • + more!


Sharna Jackson

Sharna is an author and artistic director who creates work to encourage children and young people to participate in arts, culture and publishing. She lives on a ship in Rotterdam. Sharna’s latest book, The Good Turn, is a slightly spooky mystery with themes of social activism as a trio of young friends start their own scout troup. Her debut novel, High-Rise Mystery won numerous awards and accolades including Best Book for Younger Readers at the 2020 Waterstones Book Prize. She released two art activity books with Tate in 2014 before writing Black Artists Shaping the World in 2021. She was Southbank Centre’s Imagine A Story Author in 2019/20 creating London/Londoff with over 1200 school children. She curates Ensemble – a show highlighting ethnic minority talent and achievement in the UK games industry. 

Peter Brewer

is an ambassador for STEM with a degree in Computer Science and AI, specialising in AI Robotics. He has spent over 20 years in the field working on cutting edge technologies specialising in Electronics, CS, AI and Robotics Research, and the last decade also developing and delivering STE(A)M community outreach masterclasses and exhibition demo events in these subject areas. Peter started his own educational outreach company, RobotCoders, sharing their passion for robotics and computer science with primary children and teachers in an engaging and innovative way. These masterclasses are built to include all levels of knowledge (from primary school up to and including HE) in a wide range of settings including mainstream, SEN and PRU. These are held across the Combined Midlands Authority and beyond. Peter manages large scale multi million-pound AI Robotics research projects for the University of Birmingham and Manages one of the UK leading robotics labs dedicated to Autonomous AI controlled robotics in extreme environments. Current projects include large scale Electric Vehicle battery recycling using AI robotics to handle high voltage and highly flammable components. 

Dr Alistair McConnell 
is an Assistant Professor at Heriot-Watt University with a focus on healthcare technologies and soft robotics. His PhD was in Rehabilitation Robotics at Heriot-Watt University, and did his post-doctoral work as part of the ORCA Hub in designing robotic and sensor systems for extreme environments. He is a keen entrepreneur with experience in both spin-outs and start-ups. Most recently, he co-founded Mask Logic Ltd.

Competition Partners