THE winners of a county-wide creative writing competition for young Hampshire writers have been announced.

The competition, organised by Hampshire Cultural Trust and Jane Austen’s House Museum to mark 200 years since the author's death, invited entrants to pen a short story of no more than 500 words using the title Persuasion.

The competition was open to young people who live or study in Hampshire in two age categories, seven to 11-years-old and 12 to 16-years-old and on Saturday, 9 June, shortlisted writers from the two categories were invited with their families to an awards ceremony and afternoon tea at Jane Austen’s House Museum to celebrate their achievements.

The winning story in the younger age category was written by Zaki Rynne from Fleet and the runner-up was Emily Downs from Fareham. The winner of the 12 to 16-years-old category was Najibah Chowdury from Winchester and Phoebe Shea from Andover was the runner-up.

The winner and runner-up in each category received national book tokens as their prize.

Nine young writers were highly commended for their excellent stories: these included from the seven to 11-years-old category Ewan Scott from Basingstoke; and Hannah Boyle, Faith Tompkins and Daisy Wheller, all from North Waltham.

Hampshire-based writers Rebecca Smith and Neal Layton were the judges.

Rebecca said: "It was such a joy meeting all the young writers at the ceremony. During our judging, we were looking for imagination, fun characters, maybe humour or adventure, whatever the word Persuasion inspired entrants to write. What a fantastic spread of stories we had."

Neal added: "We spent a brilliant day judging the stories and were quite exhausted by the end of it. Our only problem was that there were too many really fantastic stories. I’m pretty sure we have spotted some Hampshire authors of the future."

The winning stories can be read at