BUDDING writers are invited to unleash their inner Tolkien or HG Wells and enter an out-of-this-world competition.

The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, at South Shields has teamed up with Sixth Element Publishing in a search for new sci-fi and fantasy writing talent.

And those shortlisted in their Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Competition will see their work published into an anthology and launched as part of The Word’s WRITE Festival 2020.

Guest judges will then pick the winner, along with a second and third place who will receive cash prizes of £100, £50 and £25 respectively.

The competition is free to enter for adults aged 18 and over and stories should be no longer than 3000 words in length and be science fiction or fantasy themed.

To help aspiring writers hone their skills, The Word is holding a sci-fi and fantasy writing workshop, with Sixth Element Publishing on Saturday 21 September.

The workshop will examine issues specific to science fiction and fantasy writing, such as genres, world building, dealing with technology and magic.

Those who attend will also receive advice on publishing and promoting their own science-fiction and fantasy book.

Tania Robinson, Head of Culture at The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, said: “There is a large and growing number of people across our region who enjoy putting pen to paper and, with this competition, they can really let their imaginations run riot.

“As any aspiring author knows, it can be incredibly difficult to get your work in front of the right people – let alone to see it published – so, this really is a fantastic opportunity.”

The workshop on 21 September will take place between 1pm and 3pm. Places are priced at £3.50 per person and booking is essential.

Entry to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Competition is online via The Word’s website www.theworduk.org and entry closes at midnight on Monday 9 December.