Entries are beginning to arrive for The Herald's Children's Storywriting Competition.
Open to children between the ages of five and 17, the competition is run in partnership with Turnberry Resort in Ayrshire and The Scottish Book Trust, and has some claim to be the most rewarding short story competition for children ever held in Scotland.
The prizes, however, are not the reason for setting up this competition. The Herald and its partners recognise the importance of storytelling for children of all ages, not only in terms of boosting literacy, but even more importantly, for inspiring confidence and creativity.
To spark children's imaginations, this competition is divided into three categories: writers aged 5-8 (100-500 words), 9-12 (500-800 words) and 13-17 (up to 1000 words).
There are three story titles to choose from – The Holiday Secret, Strangers in Town and New Beginnings – and the winning entries will be decided by a panel of five, comprising children's writers, illustrators, critics and book specialists, including Elizabeth Wein, author of popular historical fiction for young adults; David Roberts, whose superbly atmospheric illustrations have appeared in books by writers as different as Julia Donaldson and Sylvia Plath; and myself, The Herald's Literary Editor.
There will be one winner for each age category, and an overall grand prize winner, who will claim a Nexus 7 tablet, a family visit for up to six people for three nights at Lands of Turnberry Self Catering Apartments, £500 of Scottish Book Trust vouchers and a Turnberry goody bag.
The two runners-up will win a Kindle-fire, £250 of Scottish Book Trust Vouchers, and a Turnberry goody bag. The closing date is January 14, 2013. Entries should be sent to: Children's Story Writing competition, The Herald Marketing Department, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB. Please state age and theme on the envelope. The winner will be announced in April 2013 at an event held at Turnberry.