21 September 2016
SEVENTH YEAR OF WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS IN SUPPORT OF THE NATIONAL LITERACY TRUST
• Author-illustrator Cressida Cowell returns as Head Judge
• New Story Surgeries in London to launch Awards
• 2017 partnerships announced
• Entries now being accepted until 13 March 2017
THE WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS, created and sponsored by the award-winning musical Wicked in association with the National Literacy Trust (), is pleased to announce that the acclaimed author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon books, Cressida Cowell, will return as Head Judge for the awards for the third consecutive year. Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, will also be returning as part of the judging panel.
Launched in 2010, this is the seventh year of the acclaimed Awards. The initiative raises money for the National Literacy Trust who campaign to improve public understanding of the vital importance of literacy.
This year, the Awards will be launched with two Story Surgery events: at the Young Adult Literature Weekender at the Southbank, London on 15 and 16 October, for 13+ year olds, and at the StoryStock Festival at the Lyric Hammersmith, London on 27 and 28 October, for 7-12 year olds. Young people will be able to take part in special, free workshops with published writers including young adult writers Nicole Burstein, Tamara MacFarlane and Lisa Williamson.
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.
Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall is Patron of the Awards, set up to encourage and recognise excellence in writing, and creativity, and help develop literacy and writing talent in young people between the ages of 5 and 25. Since launching, over 25,000 young people 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.
How to Train Your Dragon author and illustrator Cressida Cowell commented, “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.”
Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of Wicked 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, entrants can enter one of five different age categories; 5-7, 8-10, 11-14, 15-17, 18-25. In addition, the 2017 Awards sees the second year of 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 we live in. This category celebrates the WICKED: FOR GOOD philanthropic programme, which supports the work of multiple charities.
120 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 (). The 120 finalists are also 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 announce who has won in each category.
The Awards are open for entries and close on 13 March 2017. Pieces of original writing can be submitted individually, or by a teacher, parent, carer or guardian on behalf of an entrant. Prizes include:
- The overall winners from each category will win £50 book/eBook tokens, and the 5-14 year old winners will get £100 worth of books for their school library donated by Hachette Children’s Books.
- 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 thirty 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.