Budding authors are being invited to enter Portsmouth's short story competition - Pompey Words. Aspiring writers, aged 11 and over, have between 1 August and 31 October to submit a short story inspired by Portsmouth City Museum’s Ocean at the End of the Lane exhibition.

Anyone who lives, works or studies in Portsmouth can enter for the chance to win prizes and have their story shared with the city on the Portsmouth Museums and Portsmouth Libraries websites. The winners will be announced at Portsmouth BookFest in February 2024!

Councillor Steve Pitt, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, with responsibility for culture, said: “We know that Portsmouth is brimming with creativity and that people in the city have a wonderful way with words – it will be fantastic to read the inspiring and imaginative stories entered into this year’s competition. If you’ve always wanted to pick up a pen or already write regularly, please do get involved in this fantastic celebration of stories.”

Entrants are being asked to take inspiration from one of three interesting exhibits currently on display at Portsmouth City Museum – a brent goose, a rollercoaster car and an octopus in a jar!

There are two competition categories, the first is for young writers between 11-16 years old, who can share a 500-word story. The second, for writers aged 17 and over, welcomes stories up to 3000 words long.

How to enter:

If you are 11-16 years old: email your short story as a word document or PDF, along with your name, address and contact details to: 500pompeywords@portsmouthcc.gov.uk  (put ‘500 Pompey Words’ in the email subject).

If you are 17 or over: email your short story as a word document or PDF, along with your name, address and contact details to bookfest@portsmouthcc.gov.uk  (put ‘3000 Pompey Words’ in the email subject).

The competition is free to enter if you are 16 and under. It is £5 to enter the 17 or over category.

The competition closes on 31 October 2023. Visit librariesandarchives.portsmouth.gov.uk for full details, terms and condition.