• HRH Duchess of Cornwall extends patronage until 2020
• Author-illustrator Cressida Cowell returns as Head Judge
• Sixth Year of Prestigious Writing Awards
• New Category announced: FOR GOOD Award for Non-Fiction
WICKED, the award-winning classic musical that tells the incredible untold story of the witches of Oz, is proud to announce the sixth year of the prestigious WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS, which this year introduces a new non-fiction category. Entries open 3 November 2015 and close 11 March 2016. Details can be found at www.WickedYoungWriterAwards.com.
Wicked is also delighted to announce that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall has agreed to extend her patronage for a further five years.
The Duchess of Cornwall said at the award ceremony in 2011, "I believe passionately in nurturing a love of reading and writing in children and young people of all ages. Reading is not only the start of a voyage of personal development and pleasure, but the foundation stone of all education."
‘How to Train Your Dragon’ author-illustrator Cressida Cowell is also returning to the judging panel as Head Judge. She said, "I am thrilled to be asked to be a judge for the second time. It is wonderful to be involved in an award which fires up the imaginations and confidence of these young writers. As an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust, I’m a real advocate of anything that gets young people reading and writing."
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 2016 awards scheme marks the launch 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. The new category celebrates the WICKED: FOR GOOD programme, which supports the charitable causes at the heart of the stage musical.
The Awards were created by the producers of Wicked in 2010, in collaboration with the National Literacy Trust and spearheaded by bestselling author Michael Morpurgo, to recognise excellence in writing, encourage creativity and develop writing talent in young people. Since launching, over 20,000 young people, aged between 5 and 25, 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.
A shortlist of 120 entrants from across the UK will see their work published in the WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS Anthology. They are also invited to an exclusive ceremony at London’s Apollo Victoria, home to the hit musical since 2006, where judges and members of the Wicked cast will announce who has won in each category.
Previous winners include Charlotte Carter (Winner, 15-17 Category, 2015) who said, "The support shown by everyone involved in the award is fantastic, I cannot thank them enough for the passion, the joy and the hope that they have inspired in me."
Sophie Max who was short-listed four times and won in 2012 said "I am forever grateful for the impact it had on me; in consequence I will always have writing as a part of my life."
Winner of the 18-25 Category Gregory Maguire Award 2014 Chris Pritchard has gone on to be published in a variety of journals and anthologies but his favourite part of the award was hearing the stories by the younger contestants!
Caitlin Jenkins, (Winner, 11-13 Category, 2010), said "The biggest thrill I had from the competition was seeing my writing in print, and of course meeting Michael Morpurgo the year I won."
The WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS raises money for the National Literacy Trust, who campaign to improve public understanding of the vital importance of literacy. Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust will be returning as part of the judging panel.
Michael McCabe, Executive Producer (UK) of WICKED said, "All of us at Wicked 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".
Pieces of original writing can be submitted, either individually or as part of a school group, until 11 March 2016. 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 their school library donated by Hachette Children’s Books. The individual school with the highest number of entries will receive a bespoke writing workshop at their respective school.