‘We want work to show the magnificent imaginations our children have’ – Entries wanted in the 2017 Royston Arts Festival creative writing competition

Non-fiction judges: Crow editor Nick Gill, The Listing founder Cath Boughton and freelance journalis

Non-fiction judges: Crow editor Nick Gill, The Listing founder Cath Boughton and freelance journalist Angus Batey. Picture: Terry Hartga - Credit: Terry Hartga

Schoolchildren in and around Royston are urged to put pen to paper for this year’s arts festival creative writing competition.

Specially selected judges will decide who is crowned winners in the fiction and non fiction categories by children aged five to nine and 10 to 16.

This year’s competition and Royston Arts Fesival theme is ‘changes’. The organiser and Creative Royston’s chair, Kirsten Grimmer, said: “Royston has a strong creative community that spans across the ages. The schools nurture the beginnings of some great talent and we hope to inspire some wonderful stories with this competition.

“We are looking for original writing of 500 words or less that will demonstrate to our expert panel of judges the magnificent imaginations our children have.”

The fiction pieces will all be judged by members of the North Herts Writers Guild and must not be about real events.

Fantasy fiction writer Belle Wood is judging along with Dawn Cartwright – who has been writing since she was 10 and now pens fantasy and horror – and writer and teacher Susan Maylor.

Susan is currently working on book two of a seven book crime series and has lived in Royston for 20 years.

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Work for the non-fiction category must be an original piece that reports on real historical or current events.

Judging is Crow editor Nick Gill, who is looking forward branching out of news stories to read some cleverly-crafted tales.

“It’s great to be part of a competition which promotes creative writing – it’s something I always enjoyed growing up and pursued at university, and fortunately is still very much part of my day job.

“Of course it seems only right that I am judging the non-fiction category, as journalism is about creativity... to a point!

“My advice to those thinking of entering is just to give it a go – nothing ventured is nothing gained, and you might unlock a hidden talent.”

His fellow judges are freelance journalist Angus Batey – who has written extensively on music, defence, and aerospace for national newspapers and specialist magazines – and Cath Boughton, the editor and owner of Townhouse Publishing and The Listing.

The deadline if submitting to your school office is Thursday, July 13. Or you can email Creative Royston directly at chair@creativeroyston.org by 6pm on Friday, July 21.

For more information, rules and to download an entry cover sheet go to www.creativeroyston.org