by Chris Routh (Chair)
This year’s Wicked Young Writers Awards (WYWA) was launched in October 2018 at the Loogabooga Festival in Loughborough with the help of author Dan Freedman, the new Ambassador for the awards. Over 25,000 entries have been submitted since the first WYWA in 2010, but the organisers are eager to increase the number and are looking to Dan to help spread the word during his visits to schools and football clubs over the next few months.
Fortuitously, Dan will soon be embarking on a promotional tour for his new YA novel Unstoppable which is due for publication by David Fickling Books in February 2019. If you have been lucky enough to hear Dan speak, you will know that his talks engage reluctant young readers and inspire budding young writers. He always speaks honestly about his own reluctance to read at school, but then explains how through his passion for football, he became a journalist for the FA and then the author of the popular Jamie Johnson series.
His tour will take him all around the country, not only to schools but also to football clubs where he will meet young academy players at West Ham, Burnley and Everton. These events will give Dan an opportunity to promote the WYWA. He is really excited about inspiring the young people he encounters to have a go at writing, and by telling his personal story, he gives his young audience the confidence and motivation to put pen to paper.
One of the incentives for young writers to enter the Wicked Young Writers Awards is the possibility of seeing their own words in print! All the finalists’ entries are published in the Wicked Young Writers Awards anthology. There are no boundaries about what to write about – with six categories to choose from, young people between 5-25 can enter and write up to 750 words, in the form of fiction or non-fiction, about absolutely anything that interests them. For further details about how to enter, the judges and the fabulous prizes, visit the WYWA website. The closing date for entries is 18th March 2019.
The awards are a joint enterprise between the producers of Wicked, the long-running West End stage show, and the National Literary Trust, a charity dedicated to giving children and young people the literacy skills to succeed in life. Love Reading and First News are also partners.
Dan has said that he ‘can’t wait to spread the news about the Wicked Young Writers Awards. There is so much talent out there and I have no doubt that this year’s entries are going to be spectacular.’