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The Northern Roots Creative Writing Competition launched earlier this month, encouraging people from across the borough to unleash their creativity – and be in with a chance of winning some great prizes.

And Nawhal Sarwar, an L3 Enterprise student at Oldham College, has landed a coveted place on the judging panel – alongside Oldham-based writer Jacqueline Ward and TV/radio presenter Lindsey Chapman.

“I’m so excited to have this opportunity, because I love books and reading,” she says.

The Northern Roots Oldham logo; black text around a black, line-drawn image of a tree

Northern Roots is inviting entries of original creative writing of up to 500 words, inspired by the landscape, natural beauty and heritage of the Northern Roots site, 160 acres of green space, just five minutes away from Oldham town centre.

The project is creating the UK’s largest urban farm and eco-park, and the winners of each competition category (children aged 5-12, young people aged 13-17, and adults 18+) will see an excerpt of their piece incorporated into the park’s design.

Other prizes, donated by local businesses, include:

Panellist Jacqueline Ward will also be offering a one-on-one 30 minute Zoom call to the winners of each category to discuss their writing, and all shortlisted submissions will become part of an exhibition at Oldham Libraries in 2021.

Discovering a passion

Oldham College student Nawhal

There’s no better judge for this competition than Nawhal. As part of her Enterprise course, she hatched a business idea to encourage children to read more books.

She was recommended for the role of judge by Chris Barr at Oldham Library, who put Nawhal forward because of her love of reading. “It sounded like such an exciting opportunity that I couldn’t refuse,” she says.

Nawhal isn’t a stranger to the world of creative writing – her journey started in 2017, after joining online story sharing website Wattpad.

“I read so many books on there! A friend of mine who also uses Wattpad convinced me to write my own. In time, I made more friends online who loved my books and encouraged me to write more.”

Get involved

Nawhal hopes people will enter the Northern Roots Creative Writing competition – even if writing isn’t their strong suit – as creative writing can “unlock the door of imagination in lots of people.”

“You can dive into the deepest oceans or fly high without going anywhere at all. This competition accredits people with crazy and wondrous imaginations, as we prompt people to think creatively and write confidently.”

Nawhal’s top tips for unleashing your creativity:

The Northern Roots Creative Writing competition runs until Monday, 9th November.
Find out more:
Follow Northern Roots on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for competition tips, news and inspiration.

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