The Hall Caine Prize for Creative Writing 2013/14 was launched this week, with the theme of ‘heroes’.
The prize, which is in its fourth year, is open to students aged 21 and under who are in full-time education in the Isle of Man. They are invited to pen a short story, a memoir or the opening chapter of a novel.
Judges will look for strong characterisation, good narrative flow and, above all, imaginative story-telling.
Gloria Rukeyser, who is a great granddaughter of Sir Hall Caine and lives at the novelist’s historic home, Greeba Castle, founded and sponsors the prize to foster the love of writing.
The 2012/13, competition, which had ‘journeys’ as its theme, attracted 1,045 entries, nearly double the number it received the previous year, setting judges a difficult task.
Launching the new prize ahead of the island’s second Manx Litfest, Gloria – herself a writer and journalist – said: ‘This year’s theme is particularly appropriate given that 2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of World War I. But students don’t have to write pieces about the past. They are free to interpret the theme in any way they wish. In the three years the prize has run, what has stood out has been the imaginative way young writers have interpreted the chosen title.’
The prize has four categories: Primary, in which entrants must write up to 500 words, with prizes of £100, £75 and £50; Key Stage 3 – up to 1000 words with prizes of £150, £100 and £50; Key Stage 4 – up to 1500 words with prizes of £175, £125 and £75 and Key Stage 5/Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education – up to 2000 words with prizes of £200, £150 and £100. Up to 10 highly commended entrants in each category will receive prizes of £25.
Teachers and lecturers at the DEC’s primary and secondary schools, King William’s College and the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education English departments will judge the prize.
The closing date for entries is Friday, January 24, 2014. All entries must be accompanied by an entry form and entries themselves must not carry identifying markers, such as the author’s name or school. They must contain an accurate word count. Entries that don’t adhere to this won’t be considered.
Entrants are advised to study the full rules, which will be advertised in all schools and at the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education, can be viewed at www.gov.im/hallcaine or can be obtained by contacting email@example.com
It is hoped that schools will include the competition in their Island of Culture 2014 activities. The competition is again a validated Children’s University activity and entrants will receive three hours’ credit in their passports for taking part.