How to Train Your Dragon author-illustrator Cressida Cowell will return as head judge for the seventh annual Wicked Young Writer Awards.
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 and aim to recognise excellence in writing, encourage creativity and develop writing talent in young people.
This year the awards will be launched with Story Surgery events at the Young Adult Literature Weekender at London’s Southbank on 15 and 16 October (for 13 year olds and over) and at the Storybook Festival at the Lyric Hammersmith on 27 and 28 October (for 7-12 year olds).
The special workshop events will offer the would-be writers the chance to meet and work with published writers including young adult writers Nicole Burstein, Tamara MacFarlane and Lisa Williamson.
With The Duchess of Cornwall as patron, the awards will work in partnership with Young Writers, CLPE (the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education), First Story, Just Imagine, NAWE (National Association of Writers in Education) and Pobble.
Commenting on the announcement of her third consecutive year as head of the judging panel, Cowell said: “Last year’s finalists addressed really big issues – war, homelessness and prejudice. There was an incredible range of styles and an array of brilliantly original voices, but they all had this in common: they made us judges feel something.”
With bestselling writer Michael Morpugo as honorary judge, the panel will once again include Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust.
Michael McCabe, Wicked’s executive producer said: “We are incredibly proud of this project and greatly indebted to Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, Michael Morpurgo and Cressida Cowell for their support. Their passionate commitment to encouraging creative writing and improving literacy standards amongst young people in the UK is an inspiration to us all.”
As in previous years, the awards cover five different age categories, encompassing young people aged five to 25 years of age. Last year’s awards added the new category, the ‘For Good Award for Non-Fiction’, encouraging 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.
One hundred and twenty finalists from across the UK will see their work published in the Wicked Young Writer Awards Anthology, which will be published in association with Young Writers (www.youngwriters.co.uk).
The 120 finalists will also be invited to an exclusive ceremony at London’s Apollo Victoria, home to the musical Wicked since 2006, where judges and members of the Wicked cast will announce who has won in each category.
The 2017 awards are open for entries and will close on 13 March 2017. Entrants can submit their writing by visiting www.WickedYoungWriterAwards.com, where they will also find writing tips and resources from the judges. Pieces of original writing can be submitted individually, or by a teacher, parent, carer or guardian on behalf of an entrant.
The overall winners from each category will win £50 book/eBook tokens, and the 5 to 14-year-old winners will get £100 worth of books for their school library donated by Hachette Children’s Group. Winners in the 15-17, 18-25 and For Good categories will also win an exclusive writing experience with one of the awards’ literacy partners. The three schools that submit the most entries will also win a creative writing workshop for their school for up to 30 students delivered by Wicked’s education team.
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.
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