Enter our new storytelling competition

We have launched a new storytelling competition to encourage budding writers and illustrators across Essex.

The competition is part of our The Essex Year of Reading campaign. This aims to address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on pupils’ education and help every child, young person and family in Essex discover the joy of reading. It has been created by the Essex Education Taskforce.

Entrants to the competition are asked to submit a short story of up to 750 words based on the theme of Essex in the past, present or future.

Stories can be just words, although illustrations are encouraged, or entrants can create a storyboard or graphic novel.

Each story will be judged by a panel, which will include the publisher, Essex Libraries and Essex Year of Reading.

All shortlisted entries will receive certificates and will be published on the Essex Year of Reading app. The overall winner of the competition will receive a £100 book token.

Entries should be emailed to Essex.yearofreading@essex.gov.uk or sent via post to: Essex Year of Reading Competition, Essex Library Services, County Hall, Market Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1QH.

Please state your name, age, address, email and telephone number on your entry.

The closing date for all entries is Friday 6 May.

Cllr Tony Ball, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education Excellence, Lifelong Learning and Employability, said: “The Essex Year of Reading has been set-up to inspire a lifelong love of reading. Although much of our activity is focused on supporting children develop their reading skills in the county’s schools, we know that everyone will flourish, if we all open a book and read.

“By championing writing and storytelling skills we’re also encouraging everyone to get creative. We’re giving the people of Essex the chance to become a published author, whilst also providing a platform to share exciting and fresh new stories for residents to enjoy.”

Essex Year of Reading competition terms and conditions

These standard terms and conditions are subject to any other terms and conditions provided to you or to which you are referred at the time of entering the competition.

  1. This competition is organized by Essex County Council (ECC), County Hall, Market Road, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1QH.
  2. ECC reserves the right to void, suspend, cancel or amend the competition at any time without prior notice. Any changes will be posted on essex.gov.uk
  3. In the event of any dispute regarding the competition, the final decision of ECC shall be binding and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into. Terms and conditions shall be governed by English law and the parties submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  4. This competition is separate to any other Essex Year of Reading competition and people can choose to take part in all, any or none.

Qualifying entrants

  1. Entrants must satisfy the following conditions to enter the competition:
  2. Live, work or learn in Essex or have another legitimate Essex connection.
  3. Submit a piece of writing and/or artwork that is; their own work, not subject to copyright art or infringes copyright and is in line with the specified criteria
  4. The entry can be from an individual, pair or group.
  5. Employees of ECC and their families are eligible to enter this competition.
  6. Use of false name or address will result in disqualification.
  7. ECC reserves the right to disqualify any entrant if it has reasonable grounds to believe the entrant has breached any of these terms and conditions.
  8. ECC reserves the right to disqualify an entrant or work if their conduct or submitted entry is contrary to the spirit or intention of the competition.
  9. ECC will not accept competition entries that are automatically generated by computer; completed by third parties in bulk; illegible, altered, reconstructed, forged or tampered with; or incomplete.

Competition entries

  1. Entries can be submitted by schools, community groups and individuals. Please ensure full contact details (name of contributor, age, address, telephone number and email address) are submitted with the entry.
  2. Entries can be submitted by email to Essex.yearofreading@essex.gov.uk or by post to the Essex Year of Reading Writing competition, Essex Library Services, County Hall, Market Road, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1QH
  3. If artwork is being submitted with writing it should be 2D and A4 in size. Entrants can use a range of materials and techniques from the following list: drawing (eg pencil, pen, crayon, pastel, etc.), painting, printmaking, collage, photography and montage.
  4. Entry to the competition is free, however, all materials for the creation and submission of work must be provided by the entrant.
  5. All work must be the original idea of ​​the entrant and not infringe on anyone else’s copyright.
  6. The closing date for the competition is Friday 6 May 2022.
  7. Entries received after the closing date are automatically disqualified.
  8. ECC accepts one entry per individual, which can include more than one entrant per household.
  9. Entries from schools will be pre-shortlisted by the school and then submitted. Essex Year of Reading will appoint a judging panel of independent people including a publisher, an Essex Libraries staff member, and an Essex Year of Reading staff member who will decide the shortlist from all entries. The judges will not know who has submitted each entry. All shortlisted entries will be published on the Essex Year of Reading App.
  10. Eight or more finalists in each category will be chosen from the shortlisted entries by a different judging panel. judges will not know who has submitted each entry. The age categories are: Key Stage 1; KeyStage 2; KeyStage 3; KeyStage 4; Key Stage 5 and further education; Special; Other (to allow schools to select a pupil’s work that is exceptional for them, due to SEND, home circumstances or personal challenges); community and adult sector; Essex County Council employees; care home residents.
  11. The overall winner in each age category will be chosen from the finalists by a publisher or author (publisher or author yet to be confirmed).
  12. All finalists will be invited to a presentation ceremony at County Hall, Chelmsford, to receive a certificate and for the winners to receive their prizes. If a finalist or winner is unable to attend the presentation ceremony, then Essex Year of Reading will arrange for a local presentation of their certificate and/or prize at an appropriate local venue or for it to be posted.
  13. Artwork cannot be returned and, where space allows, will be displayed in libraries. Some entries will also be displayed on the council and/or library website and social media.
  14. ECC cannot accept responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation, communications line failure, theft, destruction, alteration of, or unauthorized access to entries, quadrants or entries lost or delayed whether or not arising during operation as a result of server functions, viruses, bugs or other causes outside its control.
  15. ECC accepts no responsibility for entries not received for whatever reason or for missing contact details submitted with each entry.
  16. By entering this competition, the entrant or the parent on behalf of an entrant is indicating their agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.


  1. All shortlisted entries will receive a certificate and have their work published on the Essex Year of Reading app.
  2. All finalists will receive a certificate and prize. Prizes include books, and certificates given via schools.
  3. The overall winner in each category will also receive an additional prize of a £100 book token.
  4. These prizes are – non-transferable and no cash alternatives to the prizes will be offered.
  5. By entering the competition, the winner(s) agree(s) to take part in publicity eg media, social media and featuring on the ECC website: essex.gov.uk.
  6. Images of all the finalist’s work will be posted on social media with limited information about the entrant – eg child’s first name and age.


  1. ECC cannot accept any responsibility for any damage, loss, injury or disappointment suffered by any entrant entering the competition or as a result of accepting any prize. ECC is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunction of any computer on-line systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software failure of any email or entry to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the internet, including any injury or damage to entrant’s or any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participation or downloading any materials in the competition.

Data protection and publicity

  1. ECC handles information in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulation and is the data controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018. The personal information provided by you when entering into the competition will be used to administer the competition and will not be shared with anyone unless the law allows us to do so. Essex County Council will hold your name, age, email and postal address to announce the winner of the competition and for promotional purposes. If you would like to see any personal information held on you by us please contact Transparency Team (TT): Essex County Council, PO Box 11, Chelmsford CM1 1LX, 01245 431851, transparencyteam@essex.gov.uk.

How to contact us

  1. You can contact us in relation to the competition by writing to the Essex Year of Reading Writing competition, Essex Library Services, County Hall, Market Road, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1QH.

Last updated 15 hours ago

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