Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
12:29 PM 25th March 2020

Children Challenged to Inspire Cressida Cowell in Settle Stories Competition

Cressida Cowell
Cressida Cowell
Arts charity Settle Stories have launched their free Children’s Story Competition ahead of Yorkshire Festival of Story 2020. The competition will be judged by Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, the author-illustrator ofHow to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once series. Those aged 7 - 11 years old are invited to make the UK lockdown creative and inspire Cowell with 750 words set in Yorkshire.

To mark their 10th year, Settle Stories are rebranding the Settle Stories Festival to Yorkshire Festival of Story. The event celebrates the best storytellers from across the region and the UK. Now, Cowell and festival organisers are keen to hear from the next generation of storytellers. Free online resources, available for download via the Settle Stories website, will help parents entertain and educate children during the lockdown.

The competition is free to enter and open to individuals and schools. Children may want to gain inspiration from the UK’s current crisis, or may wish to create something entirely unique; the only criteria being that the story be 750 words in length and set in Yorkshire. Entries are encouraged to be unique, exciting, and imaginative. Teachers are able to submit multiple pupil entries at once following the online guidelines.

The winner and runners-up will receive a personalised response from Cressida Cowell for their story. The winner will also be awarded a storyteller visit to their school, signed copies of The Wizards of Once series and the first How to Train Your Dragon book, and a signed print from Cressida Cowell. Second place and four runners-up will receive a range of fantastic prizes. Winning stories will be performed by a storyteller as part of Yorkshire Festival of Story.

Cressida Cowell said: “When people ask me about creative writing tips, I always say enter competitions, because they make you write something for a deadline, which is an important skill. It also stops you from worrying about making a piece of writing perfect (because perfect is actually impossible). I entered a competition when I was about 10, which I won, and this gave me confidence. Many years later I met my first editor through a prize I entered. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the Yorkshire Festival of Story entries. Writing is magic and magic is for everyone.”

Joanne Harris (MBE), Festival Guest Director, commented on the competition: "I am so excited to see the responses of children to our competition. With 750 words to play with, the possibilities are endless. I love that we're using Yorkshire as the backdrop to our competition. What will happen here in these stories? I can't wait for the big reveal."

Entries to the competition must be from children aged 7 - 11 years old and living in the UK. The deadline for entries is 6pm on 22nd May 2020.


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