A creative writing competition for Edinburgh school children is being launched in the city.

The theme of this year’s ‘Green Pencil Award’, which is run by The City of Edinburgh Council for pupils in P4 – P7, encourages pupils to think about “Nature on our doorstep”, celebrating the International Year of Biodiversity.

Children are asked to write about nature close to them, whether it be a back garden, school grounds, local community or a favourite place they visit.

Over 800 entries were submitted last year and the overall winner, Monica Robb from Liberton Primary School, won the prestigious Green Pencil Award Trophy for her entry ‘A Greener World’.

In addition to the trophy the winner’s school will also receive educational visits to Edinburgh Zoo and a local woodland plus a copy of From Another Kingdom: The Amazing World of Fungi, all prizes donated by sponsors. Twenty winners will receive various prizes at the awards evening on Friday 26 November 2010 at the Central Library on George IV Bridge.

Councillor Marilyne MacLaren, Children and Families Leader, said: “Now in its third year, the Green Pencil competition has proven to be extremely popular and the standard of writing has been excellent. This years nature theme I am sure will inspire the children to write imaginatively and thoughtfully.

“The importance of writing to children’s education cannot be underestimated and any competition that encourages this, and which gets them thinking about environmental issues at the same time, is something that we must continue to support and promote.”

World renowned, local author Alexander McCall Smith: “This is a marvellous project from a library system of which Edinburgh can be truly proud. Given the chance, children naturally take to writing. This project combines that enthusiasm with concern over our fragile environment. I am sure the results will be very imaginative.”

Further information available here. The closing date for entries is October 15th 2010.