THE third annual Salisbury Story Prize competition has been launched, as part of the 2019 Salisbury Literary Festival.

As in previous years, the competition is open to budding writers of all ages, with categories for primary school and secondary school children, as well as for adults.

For 2019, the judges are looking for stories on the theme of rivers. Entry is free, via the Salisbury Literary Festival website, with the closing date for entries on September 30. The winners announced at this year’s literary festival, which is taking place from October 18 to 20.

The prizes for the two children’s categories are £50 of book tokens both for the winner and their school, which have been donated by Sarum College Bookshop. For the adult category, both the winner and runner-up will receive a place on the Professional Writing Academy’s eight-week online course on writing short fiction (worth £450). As in previous years, the winning entries will be published in the Salisbury Journal.

The winners will be chosen by a trio of bestselling and award-winning authors. The guest judge for the primary school category is Kristina Stephenson, author of both the Sir Charlie Stinky Socks series and her most recent book, Why Are There So Many Books About Bears? The secondary school category will be judged by Julie Pike, author of the acclaimed children’s novel, The Last Spell Breather. Judging the adult category is Susmita Bhattacharya, novelist and author of the award-winning short-story collection, Table Manners.

Tom Bromley, director of the Salisbury Literary Festival says, and Salisbury Journal columnist, said: “We are delighted to announce the return of this popular writing competition.

“In previous years, we’ve been amazed by the standard of stories submitted and hope that local writers feel similarly inspired on this year’s theme of rivers.’

This year’s Salisbury Literary Festival takes place on October 18-20.