Anna Jones from the National Literacy Trust says:
The National Literacy Trust is a charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK. With one in six adults unable to read to the ability of an 11-year-old, our work is vital in improving the life chances of children and adults and breaking the cycle of disadvantage.
In partnership with Bloomsbury Children's Books we want to find talented new authors of children’s fiction.
We are inviting members of the public to submit your stories for eight to 12-year-olds to be in with a chance of winning a publishing contract with Bloomsbury, including advance payment of £5,000 for your work.
At the National Literacy Trust we work to take books and reading for enjoyment to children in the most disadvantaged areas of the UK. Exciting, engaging and inspiring literature and books are vital to our work, which is why we have launched this competition with Bloomsbury to help find existing and developing talent for children’s storytelling.
Early rounds of the competition will be judged by our experts, with the winners selected from the shortlist by a panel of judges, including children’s author Katherine Rundell and author and critic Nicolette Jones.
We were first set up in 1993 to tackle the growing problem of illiteracy and we continue to this day to work across the UK, giving free books to children; support to teachers; inspiring families to love reading; and improving literacy levels.
We work to improve the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in the UK's most disadvantaged communities, where up to 40 per cent of people have literacy problems. Our research and analysis make us the leading authority on literacy and drive our interventions. Because low literacy is intergenerational, we focus our work on families, young people and children.
Can you describe a typical NL Trust project?
Many of our projects work alongside schools and literacy professionals to target the most disadvantaged areas. Laura is a teacher at a primary school in the Midlands with a high level of deprivation with whom the National Literacy Trust has worked. Together they have run reading events for pupils and their families, and the National Literacy Trust has funded free books for the pupils to take home and keep. Laura explains how this has impacted on their self-belief and achievement at school: “Child R always struggled with reading; is from a deprived background and has low self esteem. He frequently commented ‘I can't read’. After the [National Literacy Trust] project I saw he had helped himself to a book from the book box and was quietly reading away. I sat beside him and said ‘I thought you couldn't read?’. His reply was ‘I can't but I'm trying.’"
How did the competition come about and what do you hope comes from it in terms of promoting the work you do?
The competition aims to do two things: to find good quality children’s literature and to raise vital funds for the National Literacy Trust. Whilst we have run many competitions for children, we had never run one to discover great writing for children, and it seemed like an obvious fit for our charity. All of the entry fee goes back into the charity, helping us to continue our work so it’s a win-win situation!
Are there other opportunities for writers within the work NL Trust does?
Writers looking to support us can become a friend of the National Literacy Trust, helping to raise awareness and funds. Please see http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/support/friends.