CREATIVE Wearsiders are being encouraged to put pen to paper to celebrate what is great about the city.
The Echo-backed annual Northumbrian Association writing competition launches today and writers of poetry or prose are being invited to get creative.
As part of the competition, entrants can submit either poetry or prose inspired by an iconic person, place or building from the area they live.
The aim is to boost pride in the region and inspire others who are less familiar with it.
Echo editor Rob Lawson said: “Last year, we had more than 500 entries in the competition and the judges were blown away by the strength of writing talent out there.
“We hope that this year’s competition will attract even more writers who want to share their stories and thoughts on what Wearside has to offer.”
Dawn Bentley, from the association, said: “The quality of work last year was outstanding.
“Pieces of writing from every genre were submitted which showed a depth of knowledge and skill, The writing from the children’s section was a joy to read.”
Last year saw St Aidan’s Sixth Form student Jack Boke, 17, of Hendon, scoop the top prize with his poem, Hendon: an elegy or Seaward at Night, about his community and its hopes for the future.
He said: “It’s very satisfying to win. I write a lot and I entered the competition to try to bring my work to a wider audience.”
The competition is split into two categories – 11 to 16 years old and 17 years old upwards – and submissions must be between 300 and 500 words long.
Winners will receive an electronic notebook, with runners-up receiving vouchers and if schools enter, the chance to become a writer-in-residence.
The closing date for the competition is July 31, with prizewinners being notified in September. An awards ceremony will be held in the autumn.
Emailed entries should be clearly marked with the writer’s name, category and contact address and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For details on where to send hard copies or for more information on the competition, call 268 1228.
Other areas included in the competition are Durham, South Tyneside, Northumberland, North Tyneside and Teesside.