The winners of this year’s Wicked Young Writer Awards have been revealed after pupils from around the country sent their entries in to be judged by a panel of experts.
The national competition, which was created by the producers of the hit musical Wicked and in association with the National Literacy Trust, was set up to encourage and recognise excellence in writing and creativity, while also helping to develop literacy and writing talent in young people.
Now in its ninth year, the ceremony took place at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre on Thursday 20th June and was attended by the 120 finalists, their families and teachers.
This year saw more than 4,500 submissions, with a rise in entries from individuals and Primary Schools in the 8-10 age category and the 11-14 age category.
Author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon books, Cressida Cowell, led the panel, alongside poets Inua Ellams and Hussain Manawar, Jonathan Douglas (director of the National Literacy Trust), Michael McCabe (executive producer of Wicked) and Nicky Cox MBE (editor in chief of First News).
The winners were split into six different catergories as well as special prizes given to the schools who had the most individual entries.
The winners are…as described by the judges
5-7 Age Category:
- Winner: Seven-year-old Marco Maguregi-Fleming from Poole, for The Journey, a moving story about a young refugee’s journey alone on a boat to Cornwall.
- Runners-up: Seven-year-old Leo Wiseman, from London, for White Mountains, a mythically inspired piece of writing using an invented language. Eve Robinson, seven, from Garstang, for A Time Travelling Fossil Finder, an imaginative adventure story of a girl travelling through time.
8-10 Age Category:
- Winner: Humreen Ellens, 10, from Eastbourne, for Trapped, a chilling and sad story inspired by the Princes in the Tower.
- Runner-up: Kyle Morrow, 10, from Bury, for Diary of Mr Spink, a brilliantly written tale about a mean landlord with original use of phrases.
11-14 Age Category:
- Winner: Jennifer Allen, 13, from Blandford Forum, for Dying Words, a fascinating and unusual story about the daughter of “a life writer”, someone who writes the lives and deaths of mortals.
- Runner-up: Annie McCrory, 13, from Ulster, for The Chameleon, a subtle story about a creature who assumes human identities, their appearances, emotions and memories.
“We established these awards in 2010 with the simple objective of getting more young people engaged with, and excited by, creative writing. We are greatly indebted to all of our champions, supporters and Judges for so generously devoting their time to a cause that we all feel so passionately about. It remains a privilege, every year, to read such exceptional, imaginative stories and poems.”
Michael McCabe, executive producer, Wicked (UK)
15-17 Age Category:
- Winner: Lucy Dinning, 16, from Farnham, for The Climb, as a climber treks to the summit, the mountain is revealed as a simile for the daily struggle facing a student with disabilities.
- Runner-up: Ali Taylor, 17, from Cleethorpes, for Love Letter to Pan, a poem dedicated to the rustic God Pan.
18-25 Age Category:
- Winner: Kristen Hawke, 21, from Bicester, for In Control, an expressive story with understated complexity of a selfless friendship in a contemporary setting.
- Runner-up: Emily Collins, 22, from Chepstow, for The Endless, Inexhaustible Rock, an uncomfortable piece of writing about oppression and enforced labour in a mine where the only reward for finding the precious gems was death.
FOR GOOD Category (non-fiction writing for 15-25 year olds):
- Winner: Bethany Wilson, 19, from Macclesfield, for The Other Version of Me, an empowering message about how to reject the unobtainable image required on social media.
- Runner-up: Hannah Hodgson, 21, from Burton-in-Kendal, for Much More than a Building, an honest and humbling essay about living with a life limiting illness and the tremendous physical and emotional support received from Hospice staff.
“Every year, the Wicked Young Writer Awards inspire wonderfully creative and thoughtful writing – and this year was no exception. There was an exciting element of diversity in this year’s Awards with a broad range of themes, some powerful messages, and touches of humour bursting through from the stories. Well done to everyone who took part this year and congratulations to all of the finalists. We hope the Awards will continue to give voice to your ideas and passions.”
Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust
- The Priory Academy LSST, Lincoln
- Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School, Marlow
- St. Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School, Essex
- Devonshire House Prep School, London
What did they win?
- The overall winners from each category have won £50 worth of book/eBook tokens and a VIP family experience at the West End production of Wicked, including tickets, an exclusive backstage tour and a meet-and-greet with cast members.
- The five-14-year-old winners will receive £100 worth of books for their school library.
- Winners in the 15-17 and FOR GOOD categories have won an exclusive writing experience with one of the Awards’ literacy partners.
- The 18-25 winners have been awarded a self-publishing package from Spiderwize, to publish their own work.
- The four schools with the most entries have won a Creative Writing Workshop for their school for up to 30 students, delivered by Wicked’s education team.
- The winner of the ‘FOR GOOD’ Award has also been given work experience at First News newspaper, shadowing the editor Nicky Cox, MBE.
Wicked’s educational team host a range of workshops for every Key Stage. For more information and to download a free lesson plan, visit www.wickededucation.co.uk