BUDDING writers have been encouraged to express themselves in a new council led storytelling competition.

The competition, run by Essex Council, is part of the Essex Year of Reading campaign.

The campaign created by the Essex Education Taskforce aims to address the impact of the pandemic on pupils’ education and help every child develop their reading.

Tony Ball, Essex councillor responsible for education excellence, lifelong learning and employability said: “The Essex Year of Reading has been set-up to inspire a lifelong love of reading.

“Although much of our activity is focused at supporting children develop their reading skills in the county’s schools, we know that everyone will flourish, if we all open a book and read.

“By championing writing and storytelling skills we’re also encouraging everyone to get creative.

“We’re giving the people of Essex the chance to become a published author, whilst also providing a platform to share exciting and fresh new stories for residents to enjoy.”

Entrants to the competition are asked to submit a short story of up to 750 words based on the theme of Essex in the past, present or future.

Stories can be just words, although illustrations are encouraged, or entrants can create a storyboard or graphic novel.

Each story will be judged by a panel, which will include the publisher, Essex Libraries and Essex Year of Reading.

All shortlisted entries will receive certificates and will be published on the Essex Year of Reading app. The overall winner of the competition will receive a £100 book token.

Entries can be submitted by schools, community groups and individuals.

All work must be the original idea of the entrant and not infringe on anyone else’s copyright.

The closing date for all entries is Friday, May 6 and entrants must state their name, age, address, email and telephone number.

Entries should be emailed to essex.yearofreading@essex.gov.uk or sent via post to: Essex Year of Reading Competition, Essex Library Services, County Hall, Market Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1QH.

For more information on the competition, including terms and conditions visit bit.ly/3tKfJqL.