Still time to enter Ely 501

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Ely 501 winners
Photo by Mark Fairhurst
Last years award ceremony

The creative writing challenge for East Cambridgeshire children up to the age of 13 has launched its 2016 competition and the organisers are hoping to top last year’s astonishing results. Well over seventy entries were received and the standard couldn’t have been higher.

“It was truly amazing!” says Annabel Reddick from Burrows Bookshop. Along with Mr Simms Ely, her co-organiser of the competition, she read through every single story. Dragons and werewolves, rockets and pirates, they all appeared in a wide variety of fantastical tales, making judging an almost impossibly hard task.

The chair of the judges is Julian Sedgwick, acclaimed children’s novelist, whose Mysterium books have grown rapidly in popularity. What’s he looking for in the winning entries?

“Like last year, I’m hoping to read stories that contain sentences that make me smile, that express a thought simply and elegantly, that surprise, that introduce a character in a few neat strokes, that send a chill down the spine or that make me think. And I hope to read a story or two that makes me sigh and say ‘I wish I’d written that’!”

2016’s competition again has few rules, except that the word limit is 501. In common with Sherlock himself Ely 501 now has a younger brother – Ely 50Crime – and entrants are invited to choose either category.

Says Julian: “I love detective stories and have read series set everywhere from ancient China to Victorian London to modern day Arizona. Their attraction lies in the simplicity of the set up – something terrible has happened and we need to know who did it, and just as importantly – why. That’s a very compelling story hook, and coupled with our desire for justice, makes for powerful stories.”

Entry forms can be obtained from Burrows or Mr Simms Ely and need to be returned by Friday 25 March.

At a ceremony on Saturday 2 July at St Mary’s Church Ely the winners will be awarded with prizes and will see their work published in a specially commissioned book which will be available at Burrows.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Questions & Answer about Ely 501 ” margin_design_tab_text=””]and of course Ely 50Crime[/ultimate_heading][vc_toggle title=”So what is Ely 501?” el_id=”1456832314926-95d9110a-344e”]

It’s a story-writing competition for children up to the age of 13 living in East Cambridgeshire, or going to school in East Cambridgeshire, or being home-educated in East Cambridgeshire

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Cottenham isn’t in East Cambridgeshire” el_id=”1456832383669-6e319d13-0016″]

Quite right. We’re rubbish at geography

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”So as long as I’m 13 or younger I can enter?” el_id=”1456832414845-9fa0a6e5-aeb5″]

Yes; some of our prize winners last year were just 6 years old!

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Ooh, prizes! What are the prizes?” el_id=”1456832463187-9aab859b-e38b”]

We divide the entries into two age groups: 9 or under, and 10 to 13. The best stories will be printed in a specially commissioned book which will be available for anyone to buy. We’ll give certificates and gift vouchers to those chosen for the book, and for each age group there will be a trophy winner as well

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Gift vouchers, brilliant! Where will I be able to use them?” el_id=”1456832490448-52619068-aa8c”]

Ely 501 has been organised by Burrows Bookshop Ely and Mr Simms Ely; it’s at those shops that you’ll be able to use your vouchers if you’re a winner

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What can my story be about? Anything?” el_id=”1456832526607-2f5b8983-2156″]

Absolutely anything. If you fancy yourself as a crime writer you can enter for Ely 50Crime which is especially for crime stories

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Can I get help with my story?” el_id=”1456832547930-8d6e1e3d-fbec”]

The idea for the story needs to be all your own work. But if you need help with spelling, for example, then we’re sure your teachers or parents or carers will help

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Does it need to be written, or can I write it on my tablet, iPad or PC?” el_id=”1456832580511-2462e24a-6dd3″]

You can write it however you want to! On the application form are details of how to send it in electronically, or you can just hand it in to your school on a stick

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Can I add pictures to my story?” el_id=”1456832603544-9048ddcf-963a”]

Yes. We love seeing pictures

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Does it need to be a story or can I write it as a film or TV script?” el_id=”1456832627248-999fcd20-739a”]

Whatever suits your style! It could even be a short graphic novel if you wanted it to be

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Can my story be less than 501 words?” el_id=”1456832666018-737c7a74-78d4″]

Gosh, yes. Some of the best stories are very short indeed.

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Is my story title included in the number of words?” el_id=”1456832695750-04a531d8-ff4e”]

Yes, but your name isn’t. If your name is Algie Fitzgerald Farnsbarns Philpot St Agnes-Daley Joshua Brarr the Second then you won’t have used any of your 501 words. We might suggest though that you might like to shorten your name for publication: Algie Brarr might be more memorable

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Can I partner with someone to write my story?” el_id=”1456832724185-c8c080c8-0858″]

Yes, why not. In fact, you can partner with a maximum of two other people if you’d like to

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Anything else I should know?” el_id=”1456832747509-f0effb87-f446″]

Yes. The closing date is on the application form. It’s Friday 25 March

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”And when’s the awards ceremony?” el_id=”1456832779724-2e2b0f68-3e9a”]

That’s going to take place on Saturday 2 July at 2pm at St Mary’s Church, St Mary’s Street, Ely. It should last no more than an hour

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Who’s judging the stories?” el_id=”1456832808264-da958913-1f7a”]

The chair of the judges is Julian Sedgwick. He’s a brilliant children’s writer. Maybe you’ve read one of the Mysterium books by him, or his latest book Ghosts of Shanghai, all about gangsters and spies and set in 1926

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Sounds cool!” el_id=”1456832837044-f1f1fca1-80eb”]

It is!

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Where do I get an application form? I want to get writing now!” el_id=”1456832859320-8171af17-e0b0″]

Cool. Just ask at school, or pop into Burrows Bookshop or Mr Simms in Ely and they’ll give you one

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”And..?” el_id=”1456832886818-41092954-1d98″]

And good luck! Let your imagination fly! We’re really looking forward to reading your stories.

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