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Budding Southend writers are being given a chance to share their Essex stories and see their work in print thanks to a new creative writing project.

If you like writing or just want to have a go at writing, then an Arts Council-funded creative writing project, Essex Belongs To Us, could be right up your street.

Working with Essex, Southend and Thurrock  Libraries and Essex’s Cultural Diversity team, the project’s organisers see it as a way of developing creative skills and creating writing opportunities. One of the end products will be an exciting Essex Belongs To Us book featuring writers’ work with a launch at next year’s Essex Book Festival.

Malcolm Burgess, Project Manager, said: “We’ve based the project around the theme of Essex and its infinite variety.

“Essex represents a microcosm of the entire country – Urban Essex, rural Essex, suburban Essex; all are part of the county’s fascinating make-up.

“Quiet and peaceful Essex. Bustling and dynamic Essex. On-the-edge Essex. Famous, even infamous, Essex. We’re asking people to give us their own word picture of the county. Essex as you see it, past, present or even future.

“Some of us are long-term residents, others are newer arrivals and may have stories about our journeys getting here.

“Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, prose or poetry, we want to hear about your Essex and how Essex belongs to you.”

The deadline for work is November 2016. The project is open to all writers aged 16 + who live in Essex. More information about how to enter is on www.essexbelongstous.org. Here writers can also check out writing tips from well-known Essex authors like Martina Cole, Rachel Lichtenstein, Lee Rourke and Martin Newell.

A special workshop is being held in Southend Central Library,  The Forum, Elmer Ave, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1NE, 11.00 – 1.00, Saturday 17 September for writers to find out more about the project and try their hand at writing.