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Friday 9 December 2011 15:00:00 GMT

WINNERS ANNOUNCED FOR THE SECOND WICKED YOUNG WRITERS' AWARD


The Wicked Young Writers' Award today announced its winners for 2011 at a prestigious ceremony hosted by Michael Morpurgo, best-selling author of War Horse and Chair Judge of the Award. The ceremony was also attended by Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of the hit musical Wicked, and Patron of the Award, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

The winning entrants had their stories performed by cast members at London's Apollo Victoria Theatre, home of the award-winning musical. The winners were revealed as: Yetunde Lanlehin, age 6 from London, Josie Reynolds, age 10 from Gwent, Louisa Cowell, age 13 from Chester, joint-winners Tariq Williams, age 14 from London, and Lauren Palmer, age 16 from Falkirk, and Naomi Lever, age 25, from Newcastle.

The long-running West End show launched the Award in 2010 to recognise excellence in writing, encourage creativity and help develop writing talent in young people between 5 and 25 years of age from across all backgrounds and areas of the UK. The judges for this year's award included William Fiennes, author and founder of literacy charity First Story, Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of Wicked, and former Children's Laureate and author of War Horse, Michael Morpurgo.

Michael Morpurgo commented: "As judges and writers we were struck by the high standard of the entries, but this year particularly among the older age-categories. Writers need to feel that what they have to say is important, and we were delighted to read so many pieces of writing that were so obviously close to the writer's own experience and voice. There is such a pleasure in hearing the author's voice come through the writing. All these winning pieces of writing were originally, expressed and deeply felt."

Wicked's Executive Producer Michael McCabe said: "Wicked is ultimately the story of a young person finding the confidence to freely express and stand up for oneself, so it has been hugely rewarding to have had so many young people across the country engage with these values through the Wicked Young Writers' Award."

Judges chose six winners from thousands of entries, with 45% boys and 55% girls entering theAward. The most popular topics across all age groups surrounded themes such as family issues, friendship and relationships, as well as conflict and terrorism. The shortlisted finalist entries from the 5-16 year old age categories have been published in an anthology celebrating the 2011 Wicked Young Writers' Award, sponsored by publisher Headline. Due to their more adult content, the shortlisted entries from the 17-25 year old age category have been published in an e-anthology downloadable from the Wicked Young Writers' Award website.

The Wicked Young Writers' Award has been working with the independent literacy charity, the National Literacy Trust. It is delighted to announce that in 2012 it will broaden this partnership to include joint events at literary festivals and conferences to highlight both reading and writing skills amongst young people. HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is Patron of the National Literacy Trust.

Entries for the 2012 Wicked Young Writers' Award are now open.

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Reviews


"ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR WEST END MUSICALS EVER."

London Evening Standard, February 2013

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

"THIS TALE OF TWO WITCHES IS

SO MAGICAL IT DEFIES BELIEF.

Wicked is amazing. Absolutely amazing."
Leslie Ann Horgan, Daily Mail

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

"A TRULY MAGICAL EXPERIENCE

The reasons for Wicked's staying power are simple: a universal story with real depth, characters that break your heart, a book with more wit and easy charm than much of theatreland put together - and irresistibly memorable songs."
Mayer Nissim, Digital Spy, December 2013
READ MORE

"This prequel to The Wizard Of Oz brilliantly tells the back story of the two women who became the good and bad witches.
Set to a tuneful score by Stephen Schwartz and featuring the most eye-poppingly lavish sets in town,

HERE IS A STORY THAT SPEAKS TO ANYONE WHO HAS EVER HAD,
LOST OR BETRAYED A FRIENDSHIP, WHICH IS ALL OF US."

Mark Shenton, The Express, December 2013

"WICKED WILL ENTRANCE EVERY GENERATION IN WONDER, WIT AND SUSPENSE."

Erika Scarth, Time Out

"A WICKED AND WONDERFUL VISION OF OZ.

A remarkable kaleidoscope of magical shocks, surprises and sensations - Wicked works like a dream."
Nicholas de Jongh, London Evening Standard
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"ONE OF THE BEST MUSICALS I’VE SEEN AND A GREAT ESCAPE FROM REALITY.

Even if musicals aren’t your thing, see it. You won’t be disappointed - it’s magic!"
Caroline Waterston, Sunday Mirror, July 2013

"A WIZARD HIT!

You get a lot of bang for your buck - expense has not been spared on sets, costumes, prosthetic make-up and masks, while the dance routines and flying sequences are spectacular. But the visual extravaganza would be nothing without the subtler pleasures to be derived from the clever and rather cheeky way Wicked links arms with the classic Wizard of Oz story."
Jasper Rees, The Sunday Times

"A MAJOR HIT WITH AUDIENCES AND CRITICS ALIKE."

Brenda Emmanus, BBC London News

"Packed with shocks, sorcery, special effects and incredible costumes,

WICKED IS THE PERFECT CHOICE FOR A SPELLBINDING NIGHT OUT."

Daily Mail

"THERE IS NO SHOW IN LONDON THAT QUITE MATCHES
THE WIT, WONDER AND MAGIC OF WICKED.

With a great story, powerful songs and a visually stunning production, this incredible show is SIMPLY UNFORGETTABLE."
Lynn Parsons, Smooth Radio

"It is the strength of its storytelling, composition and production values that have made Wicked

THE BEST NEW MUSICAL OF ITS TIME."

Sara Keating, The Irish Times

"It's exhilarating to see hefty themes tackled in

A BARNSTORMING PIECE OF POPULAR ENTERTAINMENT."

Time Out, 2011
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"More than just a great night at the theatre, Wicked is

AN INCREDIBLE AND UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE."

Steve Allen, LBC 97.3 FM

"Packed with wit, storming songs and beautiful costumes,

WICKED IS AN ABSOLUTE BLAST."

Colin Campbell, The Guardian

"THE HIT MUSICAL WITH BRAINS, HEART AND COURAGE."

Ruth Caven, The Sunday Telegraph
READ MORE

"IT'S NOT JUST WICKED, IT'S AWESOME!

Full of suspense, surprises and Harry Potter-style magic, Wicked is a spellbinding experience."
Paul Phear, Magic 105.4

"THIS BLOCKBUSTER MUSICAL IS FABULOUSLY ENTERTAINING.

If you're looking for a spectacular production with all the trimmings, then Wicked is the obvious choice."
Amira Hashish, Evening Standard
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"IT'S WICKED!"

Nicola Christie, The Independent

"AN UNFORGETTABLE, ENCHANTING TRIUMPH
THAT DAZZLES THE SENSES AND TOUCHES THE HEART."

Lynn Parsons, Smooth Radio

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

"BLOCKBUSTER ENTERTAINMENT, SOPHISTICATED COMEDY AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING DRAMA

- it is magnificent to see a musical that manages to be both populist and intelligent at the same time."
Tim Walker, The Sunday Telegraph, 2006
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★ ★ ★ ★ ★

"A BRILLIANT PRODUCTION."

Tim Walker, The Sunday Telegraph
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"ENTER ANOTHER WORLD AND PREPARE TO DISCOVER
A PARALLEL UNIVERSE TO THE WIZARD OF OZ.

You can hear a pin drop as the audience in a packed theatre is totally caught up in the fantastic story, and then the place erupts with laughter, cheering, applause and, at the curtain call, a thunderous standing ovation.

WICKED IS WONDERFUL."

Roger Foss, The Steve Allen Show, LBC 97.3

"ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL AND THRILLING MUSICALS IN WEST END HISTORY."

Birmingham Mail, 2011
READ MORE

"By any yardstick (or broomstick),

WICKED IS A PHENOMENON."

Sky News, 2008
READ MORE

"PREPARE TO BE SPELLBOUND!

London's top hit musical continues to dazzle and delight. Wicked remains one of the very best, most spectacular shows in the West End. Big hearted and courageous, it's a no-brainer - you must see Wicked! It's the sensation of theatreland."
Jamie Crick, Classic FM

"WICKED IS A PHENOMENON AND PHENOMENAL."

Mark Shenton, Sunday Express

"A HUGELY ENTERTAINING SHOW!"

Manchester Evening News, 2011
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"You certainly see where your money goes in this

FABULOUSLY STAGED, EMOTIONALLY CHARGED AND BRILLIANTLY WITTY MUSICAL.

If you are looking for value-for-money entertainment, Wicked is hard to beat."
Jo Russell, Absolute Radio

"A VISUALLY STUNNING MUSICAL EXPERIENCE THAT LINGERED LONG IN THE MEMORY."

Liverpool Echo, 2011
READ MORE

"The award-winning Wicked provides the backstory of The Wizard of Oz – effectively the framing of the not-remotely-wicked Wicked Witch of the West. This sumptuous show brings new moral complexity to the unseen Dorothy's adventures on the Yellow Brick Road,

IT'S SUBTLE AND SUBVERSIVE – AND SUITABLE FOR ALL AGES."

Simon Edge, Daily Express

"Wicked combines spectacular visuals and production values with

AN INGENIOUS STORY, BRILLIANT PERFORMANCES AND GENUINE EMOTION."

Tim Lichfield, Absolute Radio

"WICKED IS SIMPLY FANTASTIC.

A brilliantly twisted take on The Wizard of Oz."
Natalie Jameson, BBC Radio 1

"A GREAT BIG LUSCIOUS BROADWAY EXTRAVAGANZA."

Liz Hoggard, Evening Standard 2007
READ MORE

"ENCHANTING, BEWITCHING AND SPELLBINDING.

Wicked is a magical show."
Sam Carlisle, The Sun

"Based on the great novel by Gregory Maguire and with music and lyrics by the genius Stephen Schwartz,

WICKED IS SPELLBINDING."

Sandi Toksvig, The Sunday Telegraph

"THE MOST INCREDIBLE MUSICAL I HAVE SEEN IN YEARS.

An unbelievable show with a fantastic cast, amazing special effects and incredible costumes."
Phillip Schofield, This Morning, ITV1

"AN EYE-POPPINGLY LAVISH SHOW.

A musical about the casting of spells seems to have duly cast its own and hypnotises audiences who have embraced it as not so much a musical as an event. Joe Mantello's meticulous recreation of his Broadway production is a superbly staged exercise in crowd control and stage-craft with Cirque du Soleil-like production values. The result taps into a genuine public appetite for spectacle, art and heart."
Mark Shenton, Sunday Express

"PREPARE TO BE SPELLBOUND.

A magical masterpiece of musical theatre."
Becky Wicks, lastminute.com
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★ ★ ★ ★ ★

"Wicked is everything a musical can be:

POIGNANT, SINCERE, FUNNY AND INSPIRING."

Gary Brackett, totallytheatre.com
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"THE BRILLANT WICKED IS A MUST-SEE."

Danny Pietroni, Magic 105.4

"THE BEST SHOW I'VE EVER SEEN IN THE WEST END.

Wicked is absolutely awesome."
Luke Smith, Capital FM