Ayrshire’s Poetic Justice Productions launched their annual Edgar Allan Poe-themed short story competition this week with a visit to Irvine Royal Academy.

The production company behind the planned Ravenfest event celebrating author and poet Poe’s time in Irvine as a child, also met with the team behind Irvine Royal’s magazine The Raven.

They then showed a short film about the poet’s time in their home town to an assembly of S1 pupils, encouraging them to take part in the competition.

For the past two years, Poetic Justice have held a short story competition, looking for work in the style of Goth favourite Poe – whether it be mystery, suspense or murder.

There are under 18 and adult categories, with a £50 first prize for both, and entries have flooded in from as far away as Irvine California.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Poetic Justice Productions

The team have been especially inspired by the entries to the under 18 category, with some truly spine-chilling entries being submitted in the last two years.

Poetic Justice’s Helen Aitken said: “It was great to meet the team behind The Raven magazine, which features some excellent writing and artwork. They were full of ideas and we are hoping to collaborate with them on a project in the not too distant future.

“It was also a pleasure to give a talk to the S1 pupils and we hope it inspired them to enter the competition.”

Actor and director Steven Duffy read the winning under 18 entry from 2022 to the assembly, which went down extremely well with the pupils.

American-born Poe first came to Irvine with his foster father John Allan – who was born in the town – around 1812 and stayed there for a short time, attending Irvine Grammar School.

He also spent some of his time in Kilmarnock.

Poetic Justice Productions, a community interest company, have held Poe-inspired evenings across Ayrshire in recent years and are still working on plans – and seeking funding – for a three day festival celebrating the author ‘s time in Irvine.

The short story competition closing date this year is – appropriately enough – Hallowe’en.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Poe's old school, Irvine GrammarPoe's old school, Irvine Grammar (Image: Contributed)

The winning entries will be read aloud at the prizegiving ceremony in November, date and time to be confirmed.

All entries must include name address and age (if under 18). To enter, submit your stories by email to helencaitken@hotmail.com.

Poetic Justice Productions uses arts and cultural activities to tackle social issues and raise awareness of the cultural history of Ayrshire.