£1,000 essay prize for Cumbrian school students – and a chance to have your essay published

27th August 2013

An annual essay competition for sixth formers who attend any Cumbrian comprehensive school is being announced next week at the start of the new term, thanks to the Hunter Davies Fund via Cumbria Community Foundation. The winning entry will receive £1,000 – half to go to their school library and the other half to the winning sixth former.

The winning essay will be published in Cumbria Life magazine and a book containing around 30-40 of the best essays will also be designed and published by Steve Matthews of Bookends and Bookcase in Carlisle. It is hoped it will lead to an annual collection of the best essays.

The title of the essay will be “What I did in my hols.” “Yes, it’s a corny title,” says Hunter Davies who is inaugurating the prize, “but that’s the point. It’s slightly ironic, leaving it open to the student to make of it what he or she wants.  It can be any sort of holiday they have had, at any time, and they can have done nothing but stay in bed all the time, helped their granddad or gone off to Thailand.

“It has to be non-fiction, i.e. based on a real event or experience, as opposed to fantasy or science-fiction, but really all we are looking for is good writing – can they write fluently,  amusingly, interestingly,  structure properly, hold your attention, and most of all make you read to the end.

“The main purpose is to encourage writing skills – which after all everyone needs in life these days, more than ever, for work and for pleasure, now that  we all seem to spend most of our time in some of sort  communication.”

The judges are Steve Matthews, author, publisher and owner of Bookends and Bookcase in Carlisle, Cumbria Life Editor Richard Eccles and headed by Hunter Davies.

The competition is being organised by Cumbria Community Foundation. For further information contact Annalee Holliday or Becca Wilkinson on 01900 825760 or visit our website which has full details of the rules.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of the Foundation said “We’re delighted Hunter has created this fund with the Foundation.  We’re grateful for his generosity and his thoughtfulness. The prize will provide an incentive for a number of young aspiring writers to get creative and shine a light on their writing skills.”  He went onto say “The Fund demonstrates how people can make a real difference to an issue they care about by creating a fund with the Foundation”.