A POETRY competition is looking for writers in all forms of Lowland Scots.

The James McCash Scots Poetry Competition, run jointly by The Herald and Glasgow University is offering a first prize of £750, a second prize of £500, a third prize of £300 a fourth prize of £250 and fifth prize of £200.

In addition there will be three awards of £100 for poets aged 17 or under.

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Lesley Duncan, poetry editor of The Herald said: "The language has remained stubbornly vital and varied, both in speech and written form, in spite of all the pressures of the mass media age.

"Thus our poets may express themselves in ­everything from the classical sonorities of the great 16th-century makars to MacDiarmid's Lallans, the doric of the north-east and other regional variants of Scots, and, not least, the sharp contemporary patois of Glasgow and its sister cities.

"Our multi-faceted language has proved itself, in earlier years of the ­competition, totally adaptable not just to the evergreen themes of love and loss, nature, national identity, and mortality, but to such challenging contemporary issues as the Iraq and Afghanistan imbroglios and the Tiananmen Square massacre.

She added: "We wish our poets much inspiration and enjoyment. We look forward to hearing from you."

The theme of this year's competition is 'Now Then'.

Poems can be up to 30 lines long and can be in any form, from the traditional to free verse.

Entrants may submit up to three pieces of original, hitherto unpublished, writing.

Poems should be typed or printed clearly on A4 paper, with address and contact information on the back, and should be sent to McCash Scots Poetry ­Competition, c/o Lesley Duncan, Features Department, The Herald, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB, to arrive by August 31.

Overseas entries may be sent by email to lesley.duncan@heraldandtimes.co.uk.