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This year there is no set theme and entrants can write about anything that inspires them. Entries need to be submitted by Tuesday, January 31 2023. To submit an entry, visit here.

The Cheshire Prize for Literature was founded in 2003 by the then High Sheriff, John Richards OBE DL, and Dr Bill Hughes from the University of Chester. It is open to people with a connection to the historic Cheshire boundary (including Wirral). It is one of the few free-to-enter literary competitions and offers a cash prize for the winners (vouchers for under 18’s) but also the rare opportunity for the best entries from the previous year to be published professionally by the University of Chester Press in an anthology edited by a senior member of academic staff.

Traditionally operating on a triennial cycle of short stories, poetry and children’s literature, in 2019 a new category for scriptwriting was introduced. The University was delighted to form a partnership with Storyhouse, which forms such an important new part of the cultural offering in Cheshire.

 There are three age groups:

  • Primary (four to 11) for short stories or poetry
  • Secondary (11 to 18) for short stories or poetry
  • Over 18 for short stories, children's literature, poetry or scriptwriting

Entrants must live or have lived, work or have worked, study or have studied in Cheshire (including Wirral, Warrington and Halton) and can enter a maximum of two categories but only entry in each category.

Short stories should be a maximum of 1,500 words and poetry entries should be a maximum of 100 lines.

Entries for children’s literature should be aimed at seven to 14-year-olds and can be a story or piece of poetry adhering to the word limits above.

Scriptwriting entries should be a playscript that lasts 15 minutes.   

Any queries about the competition should be emailed to or phone 01244 511344.

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