Wild About Writing: Children’s writing competition with a difference

Preparing for the Wild About Writing competition workshop at the Halesworth Bookshop Photo: Wild A

Preparing for the Wild About Writing competition workshop at the Halesworth Bookshop Photo: Wild About Writing - Credit: Archant

The success of David Attenborough’s Life series and Chris Packham’s enthusiastic Springwatch and Autumnwatch programmes means that youngsters have become increasingly well versed with the world around them. Now a new writing competition aims to boost their imaginations still further

Francesca Armour Chelu, one of the authrors taking part in the Wild About Writing competition Photo:

Francesca Armour Chelu, one of the authrors taking part in the Wild About Writing competition Photo: Wild About Writing - Credit: Archant

Wild About Writing is a new children's writing competition for short stories inspired by the natural environment. It's open to all 7-13 year olds and is supported by local authors, independent bookshops along with the Arts Council England and the National Lottery.

The competition is run by the Suffolk-based creative partnership Dramatic Impact. Louise Collins, one of Dramatic Impact's Creative Directors says: "Wild About Writing is more than just a short story writing competition. It's an invitation to children and their families to get outside, to explore and enjoy the amazing natural world around them and to use that experience as a jumping off point for writing a story. We hope that taking part will help children see the countryside in a new light as well as giving them a chance to find the fun in writing for pleasure."

Over the summer, professional storyteller, actor and drama practitioner Harvey Salmon, one of Dramatic Impact's Creative Directors, will be running storytelling workshop sessions at libraries across East Suffolk, to encourage and inspire budding 'Wild Writers'.

He says: "Wild About Writing is about encouraging children to get outside, go wild and then let their imaginations go wild. We believe that libraries have an essential role to play in supporting and encouraging children's enjoyment of reading and writing, so we're delighted to be holding free Wild About Writing story workshops in local libraries over the summer holidays."

Launching the Wild About Writing competition at Chantry academy in Ipswich Photo: Wild About Writing

Launching the Wild About Writing competition at Chantry academy in Ipswich Photo: Wild About Writing - Credit: Archant

There will also be a hands-on "Get Writing" workshop at Halesworth Bookshop on Thursday August 8, run by local author Francesca Armour-Chelu.

Francesca, author of Fenn Halflin and the Fear Zero and Fenn Halflin and the Seaborn grew up along Suffolk's heritage coast and is one of the Wild About Writing judges.

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She says: "I'm so delighted to be involved with Wild about Writing. Children are so often completely absorbed in computers and phones that anything which encourages them to engage with the natural environment is incredibly valuable. This project will, I think, enrich their understanding of their countryside and perhaps lead them to keep it safe in the future."

The competition's other judges include celebrated children's author and illustrator James Mayhew. Creator of Ella Bella Ballerina and the Katie's Picture Show series of books James Mayhew grew up and lives in Suffolk. He's possibly best known for his illustrations of Zeb Soanes' Gaspard The Fox, Jackie Morris' Mrs Noah's Pockets and Joyce Dunbar's Mouse and Mole among many others children's books.

Other judges include: Suffolk Magazine editor Jayne Lindill and University of Essex Wild Writing lecturer Dr James Canton.

Dates and details of all the Wild About Writing workshops can be found at www.wildaboutwriting.org.uk which also features useful hints, tips and resources for young writers.

Taking part in Wild About Writing is free and open to children aged 7-13 years. Stories must be no longer than 500 words and entries can be submitted until August 31, by post or online at www.wildaboutwriting.org.uk The winning stories will be published in EADT Suffolk Magazine.

Dates & Times Of The Free Workshops Are:

The Wild About Writing 'Get Writing' Workshop at Halesworth Bookshop is a drop-in session, from 10.30-12.30 on Thursday August 8th.

This is followed by one hour sessions at:

Saxmundham Library - 9th August, 12.45pm

Halesworth Library - 10th August - 10:30am

Lowestoft Library - 12th August - 11:30am

Beccles Library - 13th August, 10.00am

Felixstowe Library - 14th August, 11.00am

Chantry Library, Ipswich - 17th August, 2.30pm

Additional dates may be added, yet to be confirmed.

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