Green Pencil Award branches out in search for writers

A creative writing competition for Edinburgh children has been launched at the Hermitage of Braid with pupils from Pentland Primary School today (Wednesday 29 August).

The theme of this year's 'Green Pencil Award', which is run by The City of Edinburgh Council for children in the P4 - P7 age range, is 'Birds & Beasties', encouraging entrants to write about wildlife they encounter in their garden, local park etc.

Over 1,100 entries were received in 2011 with last year's overall winner, James Macnab from Cargilfield School, winning the prestigious Green Pencil Award Trophy for his entry 'The Last Christmas Tree'.

In addition to the trophy there are various activity prizes for the winner and their class mates donated by the Scottish Seabird Centre, RSPB, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Forestry Commission Scotland, Forest Rangers, Scottish Natural Heritage and The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

The awards will be presented on Friday 23 November 2012 at the Central Reference Library on George IV Bridge.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture and Leisure Convener for The City of Edinburgh Council said: 'The competition presents a wonderful opportunity for our young people to demonstrate their creative writing skills and to show how much they know and care about protecting their environment. I look forward to seeing another excellent range of entries from children throughout the city.'

Helping launch the 2012 competition, Ron Butlin, Edinburgh Makar (Poet Laureate) said: 'The Green Pencil Award is surely one of the most important children's writing competions there is. Year after year it fires up children's imaginations about topics that really affect us all. I'm very much looking forward to hear what the boys and girls will say about 'Birds & Beasties'. I know it will be imaginative, thought-provoking - and, most of all, exciting!'

The creative writing can be either poetry or prose but must only take up one side of A4.

The competition, run by Edinburgh City Libraries and Eco-Schools in Edinburgh seeks to: promote literacy and creative writing; demonstrate care and understanding of environmental issues; encourage learning; link to Curriculum for Excellence aspirations and strengthen partnership working between libraries, schools and other partners.

Participation is invited through local libraries, schools and the Council website with a closing date of Friday 12 October. 

Further support for schools and teachers is on offer this year through three Live Literature creative workshop sessions with local schools, part funded by the Scottish Booktrust and being led by acclaimed local authors Vivian French, Anita Govan and Lari Don.  The support to participating schools is also being extended with a further two creative writing sessions run by the council's own Reader in Residence Ryan van Winkle to local schools in Muirhouse and Portobello.

Two creative writing training sessions for participating teachers are also being run to help inspire teachers to encourage their classes to enter.

The main supporters for Green Pencil Award 2012 are:  The Scottish Book Trust, The Scottish Poetry Library, UNESCO City of Literature, The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Seabird Centre, RSPB and the Forest Education Initiative.

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