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Penguin & Chalke Valley Calling Young Writers 11-18!

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Entrants are to write an historical fiction short story, with a maximum of 5,000 words. The entry should include a real historical character.

All you have to do is write an historically themed short story based on one of five themes, and you could win £500 cash for yourself and your school. Plus a further £100 worth of Penguin books, and the opportunity to visit Penguin in London and be given a personal writing masterclass.

There are a few changes to this year’s prize.  The two age groups remain the same, 11-14 and 15-18, but entrants are being asked to write a short story of historical fiction, rather than a proposed first chapter, of no more than 5,000 words.

The themes are also broader.  They are:

  • The Ancients
  • Secret & Spies
  • The Home
  • Adventurers & Inventors
  • King & Country

The Judges will be looking for historical research, originality of ideas, freshness of writing, and skilful composition.

The prizes are £500 to the winner of each category, £500 to the winners’ schools, £100 of Penguin Books, and a one-to-one session with a senior publisher at Penguin.

‘It’s a fabulous opportunity for aspiring writers,’ says historian James Holland, one of the judges and the Co-Chair of the Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival. ‘Penguin are delighted to become more directly involved with this prize,’ says Alex Clarke, a publisher at Penguin and another of the judges. ‘We are always looking to nurture talent and this is a very good way of helping to do just that.’

The judges for the Penguin Chalke Valley History Prize 2014 are:

  • Alex Clarke (publisher Penguin books)
  • Elizabeth Fremantle (historical novelist)
  • Haydn Gwynne (actor)
  • Charlie Higson (comedian & novelist)
  • James Holland (historian and broadcaster)
  • Damian Lewis (actor)
  • Mark Lucas (literary agent)
  • Al Murray (comedian & historian)
  • James Petrie (Head of English Hereford Cathedral School)

Those shortlisted in each age group will be invited to the Penguin Chalke Valley History Prize Final on Saturday 28th June, where extracts will be read out by actors Bill Nighy, Haydn Gwynne and Charlie Higson.  We are hopeful that Damian Lewis will be there to announce the winners.

Entry closes at noon on Monday 19th May 2014.

You’ll find all the details and entry form here: http://www.cvhf.org.uk/history-prize/

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