6 December 2018


Awards presented in association with the National Literacy Trust

Best-selling author Dan Freedman joins as an Ambassador

First News returns as Media Partner for 2019

Deadline for entries: 18 March 2019

To submit entries, visit: www.WickedYoungWriterAwards.com

WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS (www.wickedyoungwriterawards.com), created by the producers of the musical WICKED in partnership with the National Literacy Trust (www.literacytrust.org.uk), are delighted to announce that the poet, playwright and performer Inua Ellams (Barber Shop Chronicles) and the international poet and mental health campaigner Hussain Manawer are both joining this year’s judging panel. The author, award-winning journalist and former Labour MP Ed Balls returns to the judging panel for a third year, alongside Editor-in-Chief of First News, Nicky Cox MBE.  Author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizard of Once books, Cressida Cowell, returns as Head Judge for the fifth consecutive year, together with long-standing judges Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust and Michael McCabe, Executive Producer (UK) of WICKED.

We are also delighted to announce that Dan Freedman, author of the best-selling Jamie Johnson series and who also helped launch this year’s awards at an event for schools at the Loogabarooga Literary Festival in October 2018, now officially joins as an Ambassador for the awards.

Dan Freedman, comments “I’m lucky enough to be a regular visitor to schools around the UK and I can’t wait to start spreading the word about the Wicked Young Writer Awards. There is so much talent out there and I have no doubt that this year’s entries are going to be spectacular.”

Launched in 2010 by the producers of WICKED in collaboration with Sir Michael Morpurgo OBE and the National Literacy Trust, the free to enter awards recognise excellence in writing, encourage creativity and develop writing talent in young people. Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall is Patron of the Awards that raise awareness and funds for the National Literacy Trust, an independent charity dedicated to giving children and young people the literacy skills to succeed in life.

Ed Balls, says, "It’s great to be back again on the judging panel and I’m once more really looking forward to reading all the entries and discussing them with my fellow judges. We all love sampling the talent and creativity on show and it’s always really hard to choose the winners. Awards like Wicked Young Writers are a brilliant way to unlock new talents and help children and young people to give their thoughts, ideas and passions a voice."

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust says, “Writing can open up a whole new world of possibilities for children and young people. It can inspire creativity, fuel imaginations and give them the freedom to explore their thoughts and feelings. What’s more, being able to write well can help children succeed at school, get a good job, and have a brighter future. This year’s Wicked Young Writer Awards will give children and young people a unique opportunity to bring their ideas to life in a fictional story, or non-fiction essay or article, poem or song lyric. I can’t wait to read all the wonderful entries – good luck!”

Michael McCabe, Executive Producer (UK) of WICKED said, “We are honoured that Inua Ellams and Hussain Manawer are joining us as judges for the 9th annual Wicked Young Writer Awards and that Dan Freedman has agreed to become an ambassador. We are all committed to providing every possible opportunity to support the social development and cultural enrichment of young people in the UK and we are proud that these free to enter creative writing awards have encouraged so many new young writers. We remain greatly indebted to Sir Michael Morporgo OBE, whose passionate championing of literacy and creative writing in the UK inspired us to create these awards in 2010.”

We are pleased to announce that First News is returning as media partner for 2019. The award-winning children and young people’s newspaper will also provide a work experience prize for the winner of our non-fiction FOR GOOD category, in which 15 to 25 years olds are invited to write about the positive impact people can have on each other. Editor Nicky Cox MBE will also be a guest judge for the category. 

Nicky Cox MBE, editor of First News comments, "I have lost count of how many times I have seen Wicked now, but it is more than ten times. That is how good it is. The standard of entries each year in the Wicked Young Writer Awards is also astoundingly good, so it is always a pleasure and an honour to be part of the judging panel. The talent of so many young writers shines through and I can’t wait to read the entries this year.” 

Since launching, over 25,000 young people have entered original and thought-provoking pieces of writing that consistently reflect their interests, concerns and deepest thoughts, providing a first look at the emerging voices of a new generation.

Deadline for entries is 18 March 2019.

Entrants can submit their writing by visiting www.wickedyoungwriterawards.com where they will also find writing tips and resources from the Award judges.