THE deadline is nearing for a writing competition that attracts budding authors from across the country.

Entries for the Sid Chaplin short story competition, which is run by Shildon Town Council, in County Durham, should be completed by January 31.

It is the sixteenth year that the competition has been held in memory of the pit author, who was born in Shildon, in 1916.

The theme for this year's event is Life. Entries are encouraged from all ages, juniors as well as adults.

The winning entry will receive £300, the runner-up gets £150 and third place earns £75.

Prizes will also be awarded for the best entries from junior writers of different age groups.

There is no limit to the number of stories that people can enter and the entry fee for each is £2 for adults and free for juniors.

Entries should be posted to Shildon Town Council, Civic Hall Square, Shildon, County Durham, by January 31.