Past Forward Essay Competition 2023

Past Forward writing competition 2022 winners

Do you have a passion for local history? Is there a local history topic that you would love to see featured in Past Forward?

Then why not take part in the Barbara O'Neill Local History Writing Competition. This can be about any person, place or thing in our local area! 

The competition has 3 age categories:

  • Adults (17 years and over)
  • 11-16 years
  • 10 years and under

The essay writing competition is kindly sponsored by J O'Neill and named in memory of Barbara O’Neill who supported the competition for many years.

Competition prizes

Adults (17 years and over)

  • 1st prize - £100
  • 2nd prize - £75
  • 3rd prize - £50
  • Five runners-up prizes of £25

11-16 years

  • 1st prize - £20 gift vouchers
  • 2nd prize - £15 gift vouchers
  • 3rd prize - £10 gift vouchers

10 years and under

  • 1st prize - £20 gift vouchers
  • 2nd prize - £15 gift vouchers
  • 3rd prize - £10 gift vouchers

What do I need to know?

  • Articles must be a maximum of:
    • Adults (17 years and over) - 1000 words
    • 11-16 years - 500 words
    • 10 years and under - 200 words
  • Articles must focus on a local history topic within the geographical boundaries of Wigan Borough
  • By entering the competition you agree to your work being published in Past Forward magazine.

The winning article will be published in Past Forward magazine along with other submissions.

If you are looking for inspiration, take a look at our local photograph collections online, or request a pack for your local township with maps and photos of the local area by emailing us at Or pop into the Archives in Leigh Town Hall and speak to a member of staff, we are always happy to help.

If selected for publication the Past Forward editorial team may edit your submission.

How to enter the competition

Submit your entry for the 2023 competition no later than Monday 16th January 2023.

Before you enter the competition, please take note of the following:

  • Electronic submissions are preferred although handwritten ones will be accepted
  • You must state clearly that your article is an entry into the Local History Writing Competition
  • You must include your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address (if applicable), and which age category you are entering (adults, 11-16 years, 10 years and under). We will not pass your details on to anyone
  • It will not be possible for articles to be returned
  • You are welcome to include photographs or images however they cannot be returned.

To enter the competition, you can either:

  • Email your article to
  • Post your article to Local History Writing Competition, Past Forward, Leigh Town Hall, Market Street, Leigh, WN7 1DY

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