Judging Best Young Crime Writers with Talent

I’m pleased to announce that I am involved in an exciting new initiative from the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) of Great Britain, which represents the interests of published crime writers and library authorities nationwide.
I am one of the judges for the South Coast of England to find the South’s best young crime writer in the inaugural National Young Crime Writers’ Competition who will go forward for a national prize to be announced during National Crime Fiction Week, which starts on June 14.

The competition is aimed at writers aged up to 18 (born on or after September 1, 1991). Stories need to be submitted via the participating libraries across the UK between January 18 and February 19 and the word limit is 1,000.

Participating libraries for my area in the south of England, are all those in Portsmouth, Southampton, the Isle of Wight, and the larger branches in West Sussex, which includes: Bognor Regis, Burgess Hill, Chichester, Crawley, Haywards Heath, Horsham, Littlehampton, Shoreham, Storrington and Worthing.

In this picture I am with Allison Kirby of Southampton Library.

Other libraries across the UK are participating in this exciting new initiative so if you are reading this and are under 18, or have children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews who like to write then check out the library in your area or contact the Crime Writers' Association for a list of participating libraries.

Shortlisted entries for the south will be judged by me and each shortlisted entrant will receive a certificate while the area winner will be awarded a certificate and a £10 book token and will go forward for the national prize. The national winner will receive an engraved pen, a selection of signed books, and a weekend pass for the winner and one accompanying adult, including one night’s accommodation, and tickets to the Gala Dinner at Crimefest 2011 (19-22 May 2011) an annual convention which draws top crime novelists from around the world. I am at CrimeFest in 2010 and hope also to be one of the speakers in 2011.

As a child I was inspired by the likes of Enid Blyton to write my first novel when I was 11. I’ve no idea where it went to. My mother probably threw it out in one of her tidying fits! This is a great opportunity for all those young people who enjoy crime novels and stories to put pen to paper and have a go at creating their own murder mystery. I owe a deep debt of gratitude to the library service because it was at my local library as a child where I first discovered the joy of reading so I am particularly delighted to be working on this exciting project with the library service.

Entry forms are available throughout the participating libraries. Good luck!