BEST-SELLING author Minette Walters wants children and young people across Dorser to share their lockdown experiences for a summer short story competition in aid of Julia’s House Children’s Hospice.

The Julia’s House Summer Shorties competition will have two categories, age five to nine and ten to 16, and will be judged by a panel, chaired by the author.

The winners and runners up in both categories will have their stories published on the Julia’s House website, with the winners receiving £100 each and the runners up £25 each. The prizes have been kindly donated by the Addo Food Group.

The thriller writer is best known for The Ice House and The Sculptress, which were both adapted as popular TV dramas. She said she has been struck by the difficulties, as well as the positives, of young people being at home with their families and away from their friends.

Minette, who has been a patron of the children’s charity for more than 20 years, said: “For some, it will have been a prolonged and wonderful summer holiday, during which they’ve grown closer to their parents.

“For others, whose parents don’t’ get on, who don’t have a garden or who are missing their friends and grandparents, lockdown will be something they’d rather forget.

“I want children and young people to think about this different summer and let their imaginations run free.”

Stories must be titled ‘A Different Summer’ and be limited to a maximum of 300 words for five to nine-year-olds and 500 words for ten to 16 -year-olds.

Entries must be submitted on an official entry form available from the Julia’s House website: juliashouse.org/summershorties or by post from Julia’s House Summer Shorties, Barclays House, 1 Wimborne Road, Poole, BH15 2BB.

There is no entry fee but anyone taking part in the competition can make a donation to help Julia’s House continue to be there for local children and families during the coronavirus crisis and beyond.

The competition is open now and the closing date is Friday, July 31. Full entry details and terms and conditions are available on the Julia’s House website or by written request.

Minette will joined on the judging panel by Mark Tattersall, Artistic Director, Dorchester Arts and Ebony Robinson, Julia’s House Young Ambassador.