Judges praise quality of entries for Write on Norfolk creative writing competition

The winners of the Write On Norfolk competition, from left, Amber Airey, bronze; Eve Derisley, gold;

The winners of the Write On Norfolk competition, from left, Amber Airey, bronze; Eve Derisley, gold; Eve Cameron, silver; Harrisen Hale, bronze; Toby Adlam, gold; Dakota Flannagan, silver; Gabriella Best, silver; Sophie Lines, gold; and Hannah Sydney, bronze. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Norfolk's birds and beaches; mermaids and dragons; the county's rich history and its fantastical future; the Olympics and even the BBC and Truckfest, were just some of the themes and topics which inspired more than 200 children to put their imagination and creative writing skills to the test and enter the inaugural Write On Norfolk competition this summer.

Run by the EDP and Norfolk County Council, in association with Jarrold, Write On Norfolk invited the county's five to 13 year olds to write 500 words during the summer holiday, on any topic as long as it referred to Norfolk.

Over 100,000 words later, the five judges were handed a big challenge when it came to choosing the winners, but at a celebratory event at the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library last Wednesday, they revealed the prize winners in each of the three age categories.

Each of the winners was presented with Jarrold book tokens, medals and a certificate at the event, where all of their stories were read to an audience of parents and teachers.

Their work will also be included in this year's Storytelling Festival taking place in libraries across the county this autumn.

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Alison Thomas, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council

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'It was a delight to hear the stories read aloud at the prize giving event as it really brought them to life. It also highlighted the writers' strong grasp of how to use literary devices to add dramatic effect. In fact, the high quality of grammar and punctuation was something that we were very impressed with when we were judging all the entries.

'That's why everyone who entered our competition is a winner, as we designed Write On Norfolk to be a fun way for our young people to keep up their literacy skills over the long summer holidays.'

Nigel Pickover, editor-in-chief of the EDP

'When we launched Write On Norfolk, we hoped we'd catch a glimpse of Norfolk as our children see it, and they've richly rewarded us. Norfolk has a long and proud reputation for inspiring people to do great things, and this competition been a fantastic catalyst to whet our children's imaginations and to provide a showcase for their impressive creative writing talents.'

Best-selling author Louis de Bernières

'The standard of entries was pleasingly high, but one or two were simply outstanding. It's always alarming to see how good my future competitors might be!

'I think some people might have been inhibited by having to make sure that their piece was concerned explicitly with Norfolk, but others clearly found that to be a useful kick-off point, and ran with it very successfully.

'Writers have to be self-motivated - do it because they love it, and really can't help it. I did have the feeling that some of these children were getting real joy from their work, and not just doing it in the hope of a prize. However, there's real joy in winning a prize too!

'Those who did not win, I would remind of the fable of Achilles and the tortoise. The race is not to the swift, but to those who put the work in (and the love).'

Caroline Jarrold

'I've been really impressed by the quality of Write On Norfolk entries, the range of writing styles and topics, plus the highly imaginative and descriptive language, some with dark mystical content.

'The judging panel definitely had their work cut out because the competition was stiff, but well done to all the winners - they should be very proud of themselves.'

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