The names of the 115 finalists in the running for the seventh annual Wicked Young Writer Awards have been revealed.
Confirmed by the judging panel once again headed by How to Train Your Dragon author-illustrator Cressida Cowell, the finalists were chosen by teachers from both primary and secondary school sectors.
Championed by Patron Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, this year’s judging panel includes: former Labour MP, Ed Balls; ITV News Arts Editor, Nina Nannar; and the acclaimed performance poet and writer Laura Dockrill.
With Cowell, returning as head judge for the third consecutive year, the panel is completed by long-standing judges Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, and Michael McCabe, executive producer of Wicked. Anna Bassi, editor of The Week Junior is also a guest judge for the For Good Award for Non-Fiction.
Representing young people from all over the UK, the list of this year’s finalist can be viewed on the awards website www.WickedYoungWriterAwards.com .
The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 23 June at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, the West End home of Wicked.
Commenting on the 2017 entries, Douglas said: “Every year I am moved by the incredible writing of the children and young people who enter the Wicked Young Writer Awards – and this year was no exception.
“Children tackled incredibly difficult subject matters with originality, creativity and an undeniable sense of hope, buoyed by the good that can come out of bad situations.
“Well done to everyone who took part in this year’s awards and congratulations to the worthy finalists! We hope that the awards will continue to inspire children and young people to give their thoughts, ideas and passions a voice.”
Launched in 2010, the prestigious awards were created by the producers of the multi award-winning musical Wicked in collaboration with the National Literacy Trust in order to recognise excellence in writing, encourage creativity, and develop writing talent in young people.
As in previous years the awards cover five different age categories encompassing young people aged five to 25 years of age. Added in 2016, the For Good Award for Non-Fiction encourages 15-25 year olds to write essays or articles that recognise the positive impact that people can have on each other, their communities and the world in general. The category celebrates the Wicked: For Good programme which supports the charitable causes at the heart of the stage musical.
The finalists will all see their work published in the Wicked Young Writer Awards Anthology which will be published in association with Young Writers.
Winners in all categories receive a VIP family experience at the West End production of Wicked, including tickets, an exclusive backstage tour, and a meet-and-greet with members of the cast.