BUDDING young writers will be able to flex their creativity by taking part in a short story competition, courtesy of Henley Literary Festival.

Children aged five to 15 from across the country are being encouraged to enter this year's Dragonfly tea story competition, which could see them win book vouchers and invited to a special prize-giving ceremony on the final day of the festival on Sunday, October 7.

This year, the festival has teamed up with literacy charity Beanstalk, which recruits, trains and supports volunteers across England to work in schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading. Last year, nearly 200,000 children left primary school unable to read to the expected level. As part of its partnership with the festival, Dragonfly Tea has pledged to match donations to the charity via the competition entry page.

Inspired by the great tea gardens of the world, the theme for this year's competition is The Wild Garden. The three competition age groups are five to seven, eight to 11 and 12 to15, and the winner in each category will receive £50 in book vouchers for themselves and £100 of book vouchers for their school.

The winners will be picked by the competition judges, the broadcaster Baroness Floella Benjamin and David Melling, author and illustrator of the bestselling Hugless Douglas series of books. All shortlisted children will be invited to a special prize-giving ceremony on the final day of the festival.

Dragonfly Tea's Georgia Ginsberg said: "For thousands of years, tea drinking has gone hand-in-hand with storytelling and creative expression. As a family company and with the new focus on the children’s competition, we have partnered with Beanstalk, an organisation dedicated to helping children read well and express themselves with confidence. We are delighted to be working with them and Henley Literary Festival for what we hope will be our biggest competition yet."

Ginny Lunn, CEO of Beanstalk said: “In association with Henley Literary Festival, we are proud to partner with Dragonfly Tea on their 2018 Short Story Competition, inviting children to put their pen to paper and let their imagination take flight, as we continue on our journey looking to inspire all children in the worlds of books and storytelling.”

The deadline to enter is 31st July 2018. For more details and to enter visit dragonflytea.com.