I knew it would be tough judging the Young Crime Writers Competition and I wasn't wrong

Well I've finished reading all the entries sent to me by the participating libraries for the Young Crime Writers Competition organised by the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain and there were some amazing stories and some extremely blood thirsty ones too! I have now managed to whittle down the 62 entries I was sent to a shortlist of 15 with some I've highly commended.

The shortlisted entrants will be hearing in due course from the library where they submitted their entry and will have an invitation to the Awards Ceremony, which is being held at Portsmouth Central Library on Saturday 30 April.

The winner from my area, the south coast of England, will go forward for a national prize to be announced during National Crime Writing Week, which starts on June 13.

The competition was open to writers aged up to 18 and each had to submit a story of a maximum of 1,000 words between January 10 and February 18 through participating libraries, which included Portsmouth, Southampton, the Isle of Wight, and West Sussex.

Each shortlisted entrant will receive a certificate while the area winner will be awarded a certificate, a £10 book token and some signed copies of my DI Andy Horton novels and will go forward for the national prize, which includes a selection of more signed books from the UK’s top crime authors and tickets to CRIMEFEST 2012 an annual convention which draws top crime novelists from around the world. ( I will be on a panel at Crimefest 2011 on Friday 20 May at 9am)

I always feel sorry for those I couldn't select. It's such a shame when they have gone to a lot of trouble to write their story. I'd love to give them all a prize for entering. And I'd certainly like to say 'thank you' to everyone who submitted a story and to our wonderful library staff for helping me to organise this exciting competition.

I'll be posting photographs of the Awards Ceremony and naming the winner and those Highly Commended after the 30 April.

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