The best creative writing in Cheshire has been celebrated at the 21st annual Cheshire Prize for Literature awards event.

This event, founded in 2003, is one of the few free-to-enter literary competitions.

It offers a cash prize to winners who are 18 and over, and a voucher for younger winners.

It gives the best entries the rare opportunity to be published professionally.

Winners were announced in three age groups: primary, secondary and over 18s across four categories; short stories, poetry, children's literature and scriptwriting.

The event was held as part of the University of Chester's inaugural Festival of Ideas.

The victors of this year's Cheshire Prize for Literature were:

- Elidh Whelan who won the primary poetry category with her entry 'This Year'.

- Jack Waring won in the primary stories category with 'The Sea of Tranquility 2132'.

- The secondary poems category was taken by Martha Blue with 'Flight Winner'.

- A story titled 'A Homage to Home' by Aisya Imya won in the secondary stories category.

- Glyn Matthews' 'Stars Come Out' took home the prize in the Children’s Literature category.

- Helen Kay won in the poetry category with her collection 'The Sticking Place'.

- The stories category was won by Keith Murray with 'Return Date'.

- Lastly, the scriptwriting prize went to Meryl Walker for her script 'Bed'.

The entrants must have a connection with Cheshire, Wirral, Warrington or Halton, and can write about anything that inspires them.

Guest speaker for the evening was Livi Michael, who was born in Cheshire.

She is an established writer who has written 20 novels for adults, young adults and children, many of which have won or been shortlisted for awards.

Her most recent novel, titled 'Reservoir', was published in March 2023.

The Cheshire Prize for Literature was established by the then High Sheriff of Cheshire, in collaboration with the University of Chester.

Dr Harry Parkin, senior lecturer in English Language at the University of Chester and chair of the judging panel, commented on the event.

He said: "The Cheshire Prize for Literature awards evening is always such an enjoyable event as we get to celebrate the talented writers of our region.

"Judging is always a challenge and a joy with so much excellent work to choose from.

"I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone on the judging panel, everyone who has taken the time to enter the awards and also to Livi Michael for speaking to the audience about her writing experiences".