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Poets Inua Ellams and Hussain Manawer join judging panel for Wicked Young Writer Awards

Inua Ellams

Theatre news

WICKED Young Writer Awards, created by the producers of the musical Wicked in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, have announced that the poet, playwright and performer Inua Ellams (Barber Shop Chronicles) and the international poet and mental health campaigner Hussain Manawer are both joining this year’s judging panel.

The author, award-winning journalist and former Labour MP Ed Balls returns to the judging panel for a third year, alongside Editor-in-Chief of First News, Nicky Cox MBE.

Author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizard of Once books, Cressida Cowell, returns as Head Judge for the fifth consecutive year, together with long-standing judges Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust and Michael McCabe, Executive Producer (UK) of Wicked.

It has also been announced that Dan Freedman, author of the best-selling Jamie Johnson series, who helped launch this year’s awards at an event for schools at the Loogabarooga Literary Festival in October 2018, is now officially an Ambassador for the awards.

Freedman said: “I’m lucky enough to be a regular visitor to schools around the UK and I can’t wait to start spreading the word about the Wicked Young Writer Awards. There is so much talent out there and I have no doubt that this year’s entries are going to be spectacular.”

Launched in 2010 by the producers of Wicked in collaboration with Sir Michael Morpurgo OBE and the National Literacy Trust, the free to enter awards recognise excellence in writing, encourage creativity and develop writing talent in young people. Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall is Patron of the Awards that raise awareness and funds for the National Literacy Trust, an independent charity dedicated to giving children and young people the literacy skills to succeed in life.

Hussain Manawer

Ed Balls said: “It’s great to be back again on the judging panel and I’m once more really looking forward to reading all the entries and discussing them with my fellow judges. We all love sampling the talent and creativity on show and it’s always really hard to choose the winners. Awards like Wicked Young Writers are a brilliant way to unlock new talents and help children and young people to give their thoughts, ideas and passions a voice.”

Michael McCabe, Executive Producer (UK) of Wicked said: “We are honoured that Inua Ellams and Hussain Manawer are joining us as judges for the 9th annual Wicked Young Writer Awards and that Dan Freedman has agreed to become an ambassador. We are all committed to providing every possible opportunity to support the social development and cultural enrichment of young people in the UK and we are proud that these free to enter creative writing awards have encouraged so many new young writers. We remain greatly indebted to Sir Michael Morpurgo OBE, whose passionate championing of literacy and creative writing in the UK inspired us to create these awards in 2010.”

Read more about Wicked Young Writer Awards 2019.

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NB: Deadline for entries is March 18, 2019.