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Winners announced for the 2018 Wicked Young Writer Awards

Wicked Young Writer Awards. Photo by Ellie Kurttz

Theatre news

THE 2018 Wicked Young Writer Awards, presented in association with the National Literacy Trust, yesterday (Thursday, June 21, 2018) announced its winners during a ceremony involving 117 shortlisted finalists and their families and teachers at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, home of the award-winning musical Wicked.

Amongst this year’s finalist entries were stories, poems and non-fiction writing that were both compelling and intense, often with dark themes and dramatic twists.

The older category stories highlighted gender discussions regarding female roles and stories influenced by our current affairs with LGBTQ+ activism and gun control issues in the United States of America. Subjects reflected poignant references to family and love, with the importance of friendship which knows no bounds.

One theme that bridged age categories was the awareness of an ageing population with many stories about dementia and old age; often a difficult subject which was treated with maturity, and respect without any inferences of self-pity.

Now in its eighth year, the Awards encourage young people aged 5-25 years to use writing as a way of expressing themselves, producing unique and original pieces of prose and poetry. This year saw over 4,500 submissions with a rise in entries from individuals and primary schools in the 8-10 age category and from the 15-17 age category.


5-7 Age Category

Winner: Fern Brindle, 7, from Derbyshire, for “The Man on the Street”

(This is a heartfelt and compassionate poem about homelessness. It is thoughtful, emotive and reflective.)

Runner-up: Daniel MacAlpine, 7, from Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, for “A Bumpy Trail”

(A compelling story about rescuing a wounded otter with colourful descriptive language.)

Runner-up: Isabella Watson-Gandy, 7, from London for “Naughty Sam and the Tooth Fairy”

(An imaginative and funny story of a naughty boy who tries to trick Santa for presents, The Easter Bunny for more chocolate eggs and even the tooth fairy with his grandpa’s dentures.)

8-10 Age Category

Winner: Robyn Blunden, 8, from Kendal for “The Snow Leopard”

(A magical fantasy story about an ancient guardian spirit watching over and protecting a village.)

Runner-up: Isobel Pitney, 10, from Essex for “The Lazy Farmer”

(A potentially grisly but humorous tale about a farmer who should have been more careful about what he wished for.)

11-14 Age Category

Winner: Freya Hannan Mills, 14, from Merseyside, for “Mushy Peas and Battered Bits”

(A poignant and very mature account of an old man’s past reflections at the moment of death.)

Runner-up: Annie McCrory, 12, from County Antrim for “An Ode to War”

(A chilling and intense poem written as The God of War exalting its continuing role to ruin and destroy.)

Runner-up: Ben Howarth, 13, from Edinburgh for “A Ghost Visits”

(A clever, contemporary and imaginative take on Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.)

15-17 Age Category

Winner: Kashif Chowdhury, 16, from Ilford for “All Quiet on the Western Front”

(Sophisticated, rhythmic storytelling with subtleties and nuances of a very mature writer.)

Runner-up: Tiegan James, 17, from Dorset for “Redemption”

(A sad yet forgiving and moving story of a grieving father seeking redemption.)

18-25 Age Category

Winner: Imogen Usherwood, 18, from Hampshire for “Last Chance”

(An unsettling and expressive story of familial dominance and of the young person’s yearning to be free to leave and study.)

Runner-up: Lottie Carter, 20, from Buckinghamshire for “Digging”

(A discomfiting, atmospheric grisly tale with a dramatic twist.)

Runner-up: Anna Roisin Ullman-Smith, 22, from Lanarkshire for “Red Horizon”

(An exciting story of survival and rebellion with expressive and graphic descriptive writing bringing the words to life.)

FOR GOOD Category

Winner: Emer O’Toole, 23, from Northern Ireland for “Dear Baby Girl”

(An empowering message for a baby girl about sisterhood and the importance of self-belief and self-assurance as she grows up into womanhood.)

Runner-up: Jenny Pavitt, 19, from Essex for “Friendship”.

(“Friendship is a shapeshifter”, great phraseology and a powerful comment on the subtleties of the strong personal bond and relationship of mutual affection between people.)

Winning schools

Devonshire House School, 69 Fitzjohn’s Avenue, Hampstead, London

Moulsham Junior School, Princes Road, Chelmsford, Essex

St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School, Ward Avenue, Grays, Essex

The top three schools that submitted the most entries have won a Creative Writing Workshop for their school for up to 30 students delivered by Wicked’s education team.

Read more about the Wicked Young Writer Awards.

Image: Wicked Young Writer Awards. Photo by Ellie Kurttz.