The 2016 WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS have announced the names of the 109 finalists in the running for the annual creative writing prizes.
The winners will be announced on Friday 24 June at the award ceremony and celebration at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, home of the long-running hit musical Wicked. These finalists and their stories, poems and essays reveal the high standard of writing and thought amongst the UK’s young people.
Now in it’s 6th year, the Awards encourage young people aged 5-25 years to use writing as a way of expressing themselves, producing unique and original pieces of prose and poetry. This year the standard of entries was higher than ever revealing young people who take their writing incredibly seriously. The award celebrates originality and unique voice of the young writer.
Head judge Cressida Cowell commented on this year’s entries, “This year, my fellow judges and I read poems and stories that are poignant, amusing and captivating. They addressed really big issues, war, homelessness, prejudice, and abuse. 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. As an author, one of the main messages I want to get across to the young people in this country is that a career in writing or the Arts is an option open to them. Did you know that last year the Creative Industries made £10 million an hour for the UK economy? These young writers whether finalists or winners need to carry on writing.”
Amongst this year’s finalists were stories, poems and non-fiction writing showing the beginnings of real social awareness and conscience. Highlighted concerns included environmental disasters, the rights of women, arranged marriages, the plight of refugees around the world and more immediately, the homeless. A powerful and realistic cautionary tale showed the dangers and difficulties of life in a young offender’s prison. Fantastical ghost stories, wildly funny pet stories and great flights of imagination made the younger entries a joy to read.
Championed by Patron Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, the judges included bestselling author of How to Train Your Dragon books, Cressida Cowell; Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust; Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of Wicked; award-winning poet and playwright, Sabrina Mahfouz; and Henry Smith Director of Lend Me Your Literacy.
This year the first FOR GOOD non-fiction category will be awarded. The For Good Award 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 new award celebrates the WICKED: FOR GOOD programme, which supports the charitable causes at the heart of the stage musical.
Finalist entries for all the age-categories 5-7, 8-10, 11-14, 15-17,18-25 and the For Good category are published in the unique 2016 Wicked Young Writer Awards Anthology. The Wicked Young Writer Awards is unique amongst writing awards for young people in publishing its annual anthology of award-winning writing.
About The Awards:
The WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS will be announced at 12noon on Friday 24 June at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, London
The WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS were created by the producers of Wicked in 2010, in collaboration with the National Literacy Trust and spearheaded by bestselling author Michael Morpurgo, to recognise excellence in writing, encourage creativity and develop writing talent in young people. Since launching, over 20,000 young people, aged between 5 and 25, have entered original and thought-provoking pieces of writing that consistently reflect the interests, concerns and deepest thoughts of young people, providing a first-look at the emerging voices of a new generation.
The WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS raises money for the National Literacy Trust, who campaign to improve public understanding of the vital importance of literacy.
Pieces of original writing can be submitted, either individually or as part of a school group. The overall winners from each category receives a VIP family experience to the West End production of Wicked, including an exclusive backstage tour and cast meet-and-greet, £50 book/eBook tokens, plus £100 worth of books for their school library donated by Hachette Children’s Books. The individual school with the highest number of entries receives a bespoke writing workshop at their respective school.