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School children across England are being challenged to use their creative writing skills and complete a piece of writing started by a well-known writer, in the Write Here, Write Now Writing Awards 2005.

The Awards, run by the Department for Education and Skills for 8-10 year olds, are a celebration of children’s writing and encourage children to have fun with writing.

Schools Minister, Derek Twigg, said:
“Learning should be fun - this is a wonderful opportunity for children to enjoy writing and be creative. Creativity is central to all aspects of education and children need to be proactive thinkers if they are to make most of their talents. These awards will certainly help them to hone and develop these key skills.”

Children taking part will complete a story by Gillian Cross, a poem by Brian Patten, a piece of persuasive writing by Geraldine McCaughrean, or they can follow advice from Lizo Mzimba to write a news report.

Geraldine McCaughrean, this year’s Children’s Whitbread Award winner said:
“Write Here, Write Now is a brilliant opportunity for children to have a go at different writing styles and I am thrilled to be involved. I am hoping that as many children as possible will take part.”

Write Here, Write Now has the support of over 40 authors, poets and journalists including Adam Hart-Davis, Roger McGough, Malorie Blackman and Michael Morpurgo. They are encouraging children to take part by providing writing tips and daily diaries for the Write Here, Write Now website www.writehere.org.uk.

Winners will have their work published in a special book by Oxford University Press in addition to receiving prizes from sponsors including software from Adobe, electronic equipment from Epson, pens from Stabilo and a visit to The Independent for the winners of the journalism category.

The closing date for entries is Thursday 14 July 2005 and all entries must be submitted through schools.

A teacher’s pack including children’s activity sheets, classroom poster and information on how to enter the awards can be ordered by calling 0870 609 1948 or by visiting www.writehere.org.uk.

For more information, interview opportunities and photography, please contact Louise Angel, 020 8238 8568, louise.angel@geronimopr.com

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NOTES TO EDITORS

This Press Notice applies to England.

1. Write Here, Write Now 2005 supports the Primary National Strategy which is raising standards for all primary aged pupils. In the 2004 Key Stage 2 English tests, 78 per cent of 11 year-olds achieved the expected standard for their age, an increase of 13 percentage points since 1998. By 2006, the Government wants 85% of pupils to achieve level 4 or above (the expected standard for their age) with this level of performance being maintained until 2008.

2. Write Here, Write Now can be accommodated within work done in the Literacy Hour to help develop children’s writing and communication skills and their powers of imagination and inventiveness, and can also be used in work across the curriculum and in special projects.

3. Full details about the competition, teacher’s pack and writing tips are on the website www.writehere.org.uk

4. The well-known writers providing opening lines and advice in each of the four categories are:

Gillian Cross – Story
Gillian has written over 40 books for children. The Demon Headmaster was turned into a hugely successful television series. Wolf won the Carnegie Medal for 1990 and The Great Elephant Chase won the Whitbread Children’s Novel Award.

Brian Patten – Poem
Brian is the author of Gargling With Jelly and Thawing Frozen Frogs, the award-winning Mr Moon’s Last Case and Juggling with Gerbils. He edited the acclaimed The Puffin Book of Utterly Brilliant Poetry and The Puffin Book of Twentieth Century Children’s Verse.

Geraldine McCaughrean – Persuasive Writing
Geraldine is a prize-winning author who has been writing children’s books for over 20 years. She has written over 120 books, which have been translated in to 26 languages. Winner of this year’s Children’s Whitbread Award for her novel Not The End Of The World, she has recently been awarded the honour of writing the sequel to Peter Pan.

Lizo Mzimba – Journalism
Lizo currently presents Newsround, the children’s news programme on CBBC. He’s also written for various magazines and newspapers and has reported for the BBC One O’clock and Six O’clock News.

5. Other writers supporting Write Here, Write Now are:
David Almond, Bernard Ashley, Tim Bowler, Malorie Blackman, Michael Coleman, Sue Cook, Michael Cox, Chris D'Lacey, Patricia Finney, Anita Ganeri, Morris Gleitzman, Romesh Gunesekera, Adam Hart-Davies, Lucy Hodges, Pete Johnson, Elizabeth Kay, Phillip Kerr, Stephen Knight, Caroline Lawrence, Roger McGough, Cliff McNish, Michael Morpurgo, Brian Moses, Robert Muchamore, Michelle Paver, Celia Rees, Meg Rosoff, Louise Sandall, Darren Shan, Steve Skidmore & Steve Barlow (a.k.a. The 2 Steves), Jeremy Strong, Nick Toczek, Martin Waddell, Ian Whybrow, Jacqueline Wilson and Gina Yashere.

6. Details of last year’s winners are on the website www.writehere.org.uk or are available on request.




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