Monday, 29 June 2015

Winners announced for Wicked Young Writers' Award

The 2015 Wicked Young Writers’ Award today announced its winners during a ceremony involving 120 shortlisted finalists at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, home of Wicked.

Now in its 5th year, the Award, encourages young people aged 5-25 years old to use writing as a means of expressing themselves, celebrating the production’s themes and values of looking at life in a different way.

Each year, thousands of entries are received across five age categories, with the addition in 2015 of the Sugarscape Fan Fiction Award, a brand new category created by the entertainment website to celebrate the growing genre of fan fiction amongst young people.

The ceremony was hosted by Wicked stars Emma Hatton (Elphaba) and Savannah Stevenson (Glinda) with prizes presented by Award judge Cressida Cowell, best-selling author of the How to Train Your Dragon series of books.

Cast members also performed songs from musical, as well as readings of the winning entries, which were revealed as: Harry Sample(age 6) from Cambridge for his story Wacky Tuesday; Kiersten Johnson (age 10) from London for her poem King Henry’s Wives; Anoushka Das (age 14) from Guildford, for her story The Orphanage; Aashna Nithianandan(age 17) from Wimbledon, London for her pieceTo My Future Daughter; and Luke Thomas (age 20) from London, winner of the Gregory Maguire Award for 18-25 year olds for The Starlight Staircase. The winner of the Sugarscape Fan Fiction award was Evie Buller (age 14) from Northamptonshire, for The Hunger Games – Alternative Ending.  Author Sam Gayton, a former entrant of the Award, led an interactive literacy workshop in which each finalist created a brand new piece of creative writing - a short story of just six words.

Amongst the 120 finalists this year are five children from Middlesbrough who have been shortlisted for the 5-7-age category. The five young wordsmiths sent in their own original stories after a special assembly at their schoolby local charity Iron Guidance in partnership with The Children’s University and arts and education company, Apollo Arts. Children were inspired by a live piano performance of one of the songs from the stage show Wicked.

Cressida Cowell said of the winners: “These stories and poems address vital concerns, the really big questions. War, mental illness, love and the forging of identity are just a few of the issues explored with clarity and imagination.  As a judge, I was looking to be moved, amused, stimulated and entertained, and I was not disappointed.”

Wicked’s Executive Producer Michael McCabe commented: “This has been yet another incredible year for Wicked Young Writers’ Award and the quality of the writing has been genuinely inspiring. Now in its fifth year, we were delighted to see entries from previous winners and entrants as well as a host of exciting new writers aged from 5 to 25. It has been a pleasure to work with Cressida Cowell, who joined us this year as a judge, and we also welcomed a number of new partners such as The Children’s University and Centre for Literacy in Primary Education who have enabled us to broaden awareness of the award and generate even more young writers.”   

Championed by Patron Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, judges also included Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of Wicked, Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, and Henry Smith, Director of Lend Me Your Literacy.

Finalist entries for the 5-7, 8-10, 11-14 and 15-17 age-categories are published in the special 2015 Wicked Young Writers’ Award Anthology. The 18-25 age category and the Sugarscape Fan Fiction finalists are both available as a downloadable pdf from the Award website.

The Award ceremony will raise funds for the NationL Literacy Trust.

Photo Credit:  Matt Crockett

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