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School aged children from across Northamptonshire are being invited to showcase their literary skills in a competition which begins this month.
The Northamptonshire Shield Short Story Competition is being launched at Wicksteed Park on Friday June 14, with winners being announced at the Children’s Literary Festival being held at the park on September 29.
Children aged 8 to 11 and 12 to 16 are able to take part by writing an imaginary and original story of between 500 and 600 words with the theme of “A Journey”, which has been chosen by competition sponsors HM Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire David Laing and his wife Mrs Mary Laing.
This year’s event is also being supported by Wootton Park School creative arts team, Northamptonshire Library Service and Wicksteed Park, where drop-in workshops will be held to encourage children with their entries.
The competition is now in its fourth year and was originally started as a sponsored event for children as part of the Althorp Literary Festival.
Illustrations are also encouraged this year to support the stories although they will be judged separately and don’t have to be created by the author, so can be a team effort with another child.
The Lord-Lieutenant said: “We are delighted to be able to support the Northamptonshire Short Story Competition this year after some very successful early years of this ground breaking competition.
“We hear so many comments on the state of literacy in our schools and with our young, but we have seen excellent entries over the last two years and we are fully confident that this year will be even better, and that the entries will show both great quality and imagination.
“We cannot wait to read them.”
André González De Savage, Chair of the Governing Body at Wootton Park School, said: “Although the competition has been running for four years this is its second year as the Northamptonshire Shield Short Story Competition and we are delighted that it has now become part of the Children’s Literary Festival at Wicksteed Park.
“We had about 300 entrants last year and a very well attended event. Now that the maximum age has been increased from 12 to 16 and with the winners being announced at Wicksteed Park, we are hopeful of many more entries.”
Winning authors will receive £100 in book vouchers from the sponsors as well as a commemorative shield and a trophy for their school.
Wicksteed Park was founded in 1921 by Charles Wicksteed, the creator of swings and slides as we know them today, as part of his vision to inspire and encourage play as part of families’ health and well-being. The Wicksteed Charitable Trust was formed to ensure his work continued after his death.
Notes to editors:
Press and Media are invited to send representatives and journalists to the launch at The Terrace suite, Wicksteed Park, at 6pm Friday June 14 to meet the team and possibly a famous or budding author too. We hope very much that you will be able to join us. Please let us know by replying to

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