Otley Lions are inviting all budding young authors to enter their new creative writing competition.

The group is starting up the twice-a-year, four-level scheme to encourage local children to stretch their imagination by writing stories.

Entries for the first competition, which will announce its winners in June, are now being accepted and should be up to 500 words for children at Key Stages 1 and 2, and no more than 750 words for children at Key Stage 3 or 4.

Writers will be given credit for the originality, plot and characters of their stories, along with the quality of narrative, dialogue, style and language.

The winners in each of the age groups will receive a £20 book token and have their tales displayed in the Lions’ bookshop on Mercury Row and the group’s website, with their names published in the local press.

The theme for the stories will change each time, with the competitors being given a choice of topics and the winners announced each January and June.

For the themes and more details about the first competition, send an e-mail to pg@mcatkins.co.uk Entries can be handwritten or typed and delivered to the Lions’ bookshop or sent as an attachment to the same e-mail address. They should include a cover sheet listing the writer’s name, address, telephone number, e-mail address (if possible), date of birth and school.

The Lions will also be asking local schools to announce the competition at their assemblies. The group say they hope the contest might help find “Otley’s answer to JK Rowling”.