ST HELENS LIBRARIES CREATIVE WRITING COMPETITION

Sat 18th May 2019 at 10.30 - 12.00

Chester Lane Library St Helens SAT 18 MAY

This years competition opened for entries on World Book Day, 7 March and children from any school in St Helens can participate. Closing date for entries is 27 April. Presentation of prizes at Chester Lane Library on SAT 18 MAY at 10.30am

Details of this project are as follows:

Background 

St Helens Library Service has offered a Creative Writing Competition since 2014 to Primary and Secondary age children. 

Funding has been granted in the past by both West Lancashire Freemasons Charity for the Secondary prizes and Newton Rotary Club for the Primary prizes. In order to continue to operate the competition, a further funding application is now being made to both organisations to run the competition in 2019.

How the competition operates

Publicity is sent out to every school in St Helens via press releases and on the Library social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter). In addition, each Library has information about the competition and library staff promote this to children and young people encouraging them to join in. 

The theme of the competition has varied over the last four years. The first two years focussed on a WW1 theme and the competition asked children to submit entries in diary, poem, letter or song format as though they were living during the war, either at home or fighting in the trenches. 

In 2017, the format and branding changed to St Helens Superwriters, with 6 story-starters, giving children the beginning and theme to stimulate their writing. This proved very popular and so the competition continued in this way into 2018. 

Prizes

The funding will award the winners with book tokens. 

1st Prize: £50.00 book token

2nd Prize £30.00 book token

3rd Prize £20.00 book token

Local bookshop, Wardleworth in St Helens will provide the book tokens and an additional 10% discount providing the child spends the tokens in the shop

The remainder of the funding (£150.00 and with match from the Library Service) would be used to inspire and encourage children with their writing. The Library Service works with authors who write specifically for children and young people. It is the intention to engage an author to work with children via special creative writing sessions in libraries. These sessions will be promoted through schools to encourage participation and help children write the best stories possible. 

Judging process and presentation ceremony

A judging panel of Library staff and representatives from West Lancashire Freemasons Charity and Newton Rotary Club will judge the entries and decide on winners and commended entries. The judging will be 2 and 3 May

A presentation ceremony will be held in a library with competition winners and their families invited to receive prizes and certificates awarded by the Mayor of St Helens. Representatives from the Charity will be invited to this. The Library Service will continue to design certificates that will be awarded to all winners and will give additional book prizes as a supplement to the main prize of book tokens. 

The Charity logo will be acknowledged on all publicity and press releases. Prizes will be awarded on 18 May at Chester Lane Library.

Details of take-up in previous years and beneficiaries

The numbers of children and young people taking part in the competition over the last four years is as follows:

  • 2015 - 81 entries
  • 2016 - 111 entries
  • 2017 - 337 entries
  • 2018 - 370 entries. 

 

Children, young people, their parents and their teachers have reported that the competition helps them to write better and more creatively. The schools in St Helens are very supportive of any effort by the Library Service to encourage the development of literacy skills including creative writing. Unfortunately, the Borough of St Helens has a high prevalence of speech, language and communication difficulties and the Library Service works in partnership with schools through the Schools Library Service to develop these skills. The Creative Writing Competition is one example of work taking place that has a positive impact on communication skills. 

Quality of entries

Just some of the words picked out of entries and made into a word cloud (below) demonstrate the quality of entries in the 2018 competition and the kind of words used in creative writing. 

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