World Book Day will get off to a flying start this year when a minister for education joins an author to launch a young writers’ competition.

To celebrate World Book Day on Thursday, and to launch the Young Writers' Competition, Wimbledon BookFest, in partnership with the University of Roehampton, has organised a series of events with 10 primary schools across Merton.

Wimbledon Times:

Author Jacqueline Wilson with last year's young writing competition winner Leeya Odedra

Nick Gibb, minister for education will be at Wimbledon Chase Primary School on Thursday morning alongside Caroline Lawrence, the author of the Roman Mysteries series and the PK Pinkerton ‘Western Mysteries’ books.

The theme of this year’s competition is Through the Looking Glass paying homage to the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Youngsters getting involved in the competition, which last year saw hundreds of entries from schools across the borough, are being asked to think about a twist on a traditional fairytale story.

The panel of judges comprises a range of professional writers including author Gemma Malley, Peter Glanville, the artistic director at the Polka Theatre, Becky Middleton from this newspaper and guest judge Ms Lawrence.

Festival director Fiona Razvi said: "The BookFest Young Writers’ Competition for Merton schools has gone from strength to strength with over 30 primary and secondary schools from the borough now regularly taking part.

"We’re delighted that Nick Gibb has chosen to visit BookFest on such an exciting and appropriate day as World Book Day, when we will be launching this year’s competition.

"We hope to give him a real feel for the creative work the festival does with the schools."

Wimbledon BookFest is a community festival of the arts that will take place on Wimbledon Common and at venues around the borough from October 2 to 11 this year.

Last year literary greats, including Ian McEwan, Alexander McCall Smith and Jacqueline Wilson, turned out to give talks and sign books in the tent on the common.

Details of this year’s events will be released in the summer.

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