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Wicked Young Writer Awards - 10th Anniversary year

Theatre news

THE Wicked Young Writer Awards, created by the producers of the musical Wicked in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, has announced that entries are now open for 2020, their celebratory 10th anniversary year.

The 2020 Awards mark the 10th anniversary of the national writing competition for 5 to 25-year olds, which were established in 2010 to reward excellence in creative writing and encourage young people to find their own voice.

Michael Morpurgo (War Horse, Private Peaceful) was instrumental in setting up the awards 10 years ago and one of the first judges. He commented:

“Happy birthday Wicked Young Writer Awards! I was delighted to get involved all those years ago because I felt there was a great need for a writing award for all ages. One that wasn’t prescriptive but would allow young people to write about what they felt, to find their voice with the encouragement of their parents and teachers.”

Since the Wicked Young Writer Awards were set up, in support of the National Literacy Trust, they have attracted entries from over 50,000 children and young people across the UK. Every year the Awards ceremony, to which all the 120 finalists and their families and teachers are invited, takes place at the stunning Art Deco home of the musical Wicked, London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre.

The ceremony features live performances and readings of the winning entries from the Wicked cast.

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall has been Patron of the Wicked Young Writer Awards since they were founded. The Duchess is a passionate promoter of Literacy in the UK and internationally, with particular focus on encouraging a love of reading and writing from an early age. The Duchess is also Patron of several organisations which promote and support literacy, including the National Literacy Trust, Book Trust, First Story and Beanstalk.

The judges for the 2020 Awards will be:

Cressida Cowell (How To Train Your Dragon, The Wizards of Once), the Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2019-2021, who returns as Head Judge for a fifth consecutive year.

Cowell will be joined again by long-standing judges Jonathan Douglas, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust; Nicky Cox MBE, Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning children’s newspaper First News; Michael McCabe, Executive Producer (UK) of Wicked and the internationally renowned poet and mental health ambassador Hussain Manawer, who returns for a second year.

Joining them for the 10th anniversary year will be the BAFTA award-winning writer, comedian and actor Charlie Higson (Young Bond and The Enemy book series, The Fast Show) and author, illustrator and performance poet Laura Dockrill (Darcy Burdock book series).

The Awards Ambassador for a second year is best-selling author Dan Freedman (Jamie Johnson football book series) who has visited schools across the country to raise awareness of the Awards.

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 2020 Awards see the fifth year of the For Good Award for Non-Fiction, encouraging 11-25-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.

Pieces of original writing can be submitted, either individually or as part of a school group, until March 2, 2020. The overall winners from each category will win 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 the 5-14-year old winner’s school library donated by Hachette Children’s Books.

There will also be prizes for the school and teacher who submit the most entries.

Stories, poems and non-fiction pieces from 120 finalists from across the UK will be published in the annual Wicked Young Writer Awards Anthology. The finalists are also invited to an exclusive ceremony at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, home to the award-winning musical since 2006, where judges and members of the Wicked cast will read the winning stories and poems and announce who has won in each category.

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