A FAMOUS playwright is going back to his roots to encourage children to write stories.
Tim Firth, who penned the screenplay for the award-winning film Calendar Girls, is launching a competition for junior school-aged children in Cheshire.
The 2003 film, based on the true story of a group of Women’s Institute members in Yorkshire who produced a nude calendar to raise funds for charity, starred Helen Mirren and Julie Walters
Firth, who lives in Frodsham with his wife and family, is offering The Great Cheshire Story Prize 2010.
The idea came to him when he was invited to present the Cheshire Literature Prize last year.
He said: “I thought it would be great if there was a junior prize to stimulate the writers of the future, so I decided to waive my fee and instead offer the money as a prize for a competition.”
Tim was educated in Stockton Heath and Appleton before reading English at King’s College, Cambridge. He offers some advice to budding young writers:
“Everyone’s heard of the X Factor and writing this story should be all about the W Factor - Who?, When?, What? and Wow!
“Whatever you do, make the story your own. Come up with an idea you feel excited about. If you feel an idea is new and exciting, it will show in your writing.
“Remember - your first idea may not be your best one. If it doesn’t work, leave it a while and have another go. When you’ve written something that does work, leave it a while, then come back to it and see if you can make it work even better.”
Tim’s final piece of advice is: “Never use the final line ‘and then I woke up’.”
The competition is run in association with The Chronicle and the University of Chester and is open to any Cheshire junior school child aged between seven and 11. Second year teacher education students at the university will provide every finalist with a constructive individual review and the winner’s story will be published in The Chronicle in October.
The winner will receive £100, £100 worth of book tokens and £200 of book tokens for their school. There will be two highly commended awards of £50, £50 worth of book tokens and £100 of book tokens for their school.
Tim Firth will receive an honorary degree from the University of Chester at Chester Cathedral tomorrow.