A chance to share stories

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CREATIVE writers across Hartlepool and east Durham are being encouraged to put pen to paper to celebrate what is great about their areas.

The Hartlepool Mail and Peterlee Star-backed annual Northumbrian Association writing competition launches today and budding writers of poetry or prose are being invited to get creative.

As part of the competition, entrants can submit either poetry or prose inspired by an iconic person, place or building from the area they live.

The aim is to boost pride in the region and inspire others who are less familiar with it.

Mail editor Joy Yates said: “Last year, we had more than 500 entries in the competition and the judges were blown away by the strength of writing talent out there. We hope that this year’s competition will attract even more writers, who want to share their stories and thoughts on what our area has to offer.”

Dawn Bentley, from the association, said: “The quality of work last year was outstanding. Pieces of writing from every genre were submitted which showed a depth of knowledge and skill. The writing from the children’s section was a joy to read.”

The competition is split into two categories – 11-to-16 and 17 years upwards.

Submissions must be between 300 and 500 words long.

Winners will receive an electronic notebook, with runners-up receiving vouchers and, if schools enter, the chance to have a writer-in-residence.

The closing date for the competition is July 31, with prizewinners being notified in September. An awards ceremony will be held in the autumn.

Emailed entries should be clearly marked with the writer’s name, category and contact address and sent to dbentley55@btinternet.com.