Archive for the ‘Book Award News’ Category

Announced: Wicked Young Writers Awards

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

The 2018 Wicked Young Writer Awards, presented in association with the National Literacy Trust took place on the 21st June 2018. This year’s winners were announced at a ceremony that involved the 117 shortlisted finalists and their families. The Wicked Young Writer Awards ceremony was held at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, the home of the magical, award-winning musical WICKED.

The Awards encourage people aged 5-25 years to use writing as a way of expressing themselves. The result? Unique and original pieces of poetry. This year there were more than 4,500 submissions, with an increase i the number of entries from both individuals, primary schools in the 8-10 age category and from the 15-17 age category.

Among the finalists’ entries this year were stories, poems and non-fiction writing. The Shortlisted pieces were compelling and intense, often with dark themes and dramatic twists. In the older categories, issues such as gender discussions regarding the female roles, and stories connected to LGBTQ+ activism and gun control issues in the United States of America. A theme that features across all age categories was the awareness of an ageing population, with stories about dementia and old age. These important subjects were dealt with maturely and with respect.

Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall is the patron and champion of the Wicked Young Writer Awards. The judges for this year’s Awards were:

Ed Balls – writer, broadcaster and former secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.
Caleb Femi – writer and first Young People’s Laureate for London
Head Judge Cressida Cowell – Author and Illustrator of ‘How to Train Your Dragon’
Jonathan Douglas – Long-standing judge of the awards and Director of the National Literacy Trust
Michael McCabe – Executive Producer (UK) of WICKED
Guest Judge Nicky Cox MBE – Editor and Chief of First News (a joint sponsor of the Award prize for the ‘FOR GOOD’ category

Hosting this year’s award ceremony was Greg James, Recently announced as the new presenter of BBC Radio 1’s flagship Breakfast Show. The prizes were presented by Head Judge Cressida Cowell and the panel of prestigious judges.

Check out the Winners and runners-up for each category below:

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 “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, Hampstead,

Moulsham Junior School, Essex

St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School, Essex

CLiPPA 2018 Winner Announced

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

The Hip Hop artist and debut poet Karl Nova has been announced as the winner of CLiPPA 2018. Karl Nova created his debut, Rhythm and Poetry in order to bring poetry to children and young people through rap.

Poet and Chair of the CLiPPA 2018 Judges, Grace Nichols, had this to say about the winning book:

This book really stood out for me with its refreshing use of the rap genre, its musicality, its immediacy and thoughtful reflections on the creative process. Karl Nova’s poems ring true with a sincere charm that children and young people can relate to and that may inspire their own writing.

Karl’s win has come during a time where poetry is being embraced in to the mainstream – a trend that has been reflected in children’s poetry. The popularity has also helped to raise the profile of CLiPPA. This Award is the CLPE’s flagship event in their work all year-round championing poetry. The CLPE’s Power of Reading project works with teachers and with poets in order to understand how to make poetry engaging and impactful in the classroom. As a part of this scheme, 350 free copies of the shortlisted books will be sent to teachers nationally.

CLiPPA grows year on year, with an increase in submissions of nearly 70% this year alone. The trickle-down effect of this success is being seen throughout children’s poetry. Louise Johns-Shepherd, the Chief Executive of the CLPE has said:

At CLPE, we are determined to celebrate the very best children’s poetry by involving more schools, producing more resources and getting more poetry books into schools. We promote it, we research it, we help teachers to use it in schools – we are poetry because poetry is the gateway to literacy.

Karl Nova received the CLiPPA and a cheque for £1000 in front of a packed audience, filled with poets, educators, publishers, shadowing school children and media at an event held a The National Theatre. At the ceremony, all the shortlisted poets performed on stage alongside children from the CLiPPA Shadowing Scheme, whose winning performances were selected from hundreds of competition entries.

Rising Stars by Ruth Awolola, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Abigail Cook, Jay Hulme and Amina Jama is a poetry collection by poets and performers from under-represented communities. This shortlisted entry was also highly commended at the CLiPPA ceremony. You can view the entire shortlist in our special poetry category.

The CLPE have thanked ALCS, Siobhan Dowd Trust and St Olave’s Funds for their generous support of CLiPPA.

Budding writers become published authors with the Short Story Prize

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

The National Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury Publishing have announced the winners of the Short Story Prize.

The competition, which launched in March, challenged budding authors to capture children’s imaginations by recreating a classic fairy tale with a modern twist, aimed at an audience of eight to 12-year-olds.


Hundreds of 2,000 – 4,000 word entries were received and judged by a panel including award winning children’s author Chris Priestley, members of the Bloomsbury Editorial team and Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust.


The eight winning stories will all be included in an eBook anthology by Bloomsbury and the newly-published authors will also receive £200 each.


  • Beardunzel by Annie Edge
  • The Perfect Child by Charlotte Goddard
  • VANISHED by Frances Stickley
  • The Mysterious Transformation of the Prince of Amphibia by Stephanie Aslan
  • Sarah Snow and the Seven Spacecraft Engineers               by Mirandy Luby
  • Rapunzel’s Reunion by Emma Young
  • The Giant’s Child by Vicky McFarland
  • The Problem with Mr Woolf by Kelly Archer


The money raised from entrance fees to the competition will help the National Literacy Trust to continue its work helping to give disadvantaged children the literacy skills they need to succeed.


Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust and Short Story Prize Judge Panellist said:


“Exciting and inspiring literature is vital to our work and we are delighted that the Short Story Prize has helped up to uncover such brilliant new children’s writing talent. A huge congratulations to our winners, who can now say they are published authors thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing.


“A huge thank you to everyone who entered the competition – the money raised will help us to inspire more children to enjoy reading, which has an important impact on how well they do at school and in the future.”


Ian Lamb, Head of Children’s Marketing and Publicity at Bloomsbury Publishing Plc said:


“We were blown away by the many wonderfully twisted Short Story Prize entries and are delighted to have discovered fantastic new writing talent with the National Literacy Trust.


“We hope that the published eBook will inspire young people across the country to enjoy reading… and perhaps even write a short story of their own.”


Find out more at


Sunday, November 26th, 2017

As an early Christmas treat to aspiring writers and to celebrate its tenth year, Chicken House are extending the deadline for this year’s Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition to Wednesday 20th December 2017.
The annual competition – the UK’s most valuable for children’s writers – offers unpublished and unagented writers all over the world the chance to submit their work to Chicken House’s team of readers. One talented writer will win a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House with a royalty advance of £10,000. We are on the lookout for original ideas, a fresh voice and a story that children will love!
To enter, writers must have written a completed full-length novel suitable for children or young adults aged somewhere between 7 and 18 years. We ask that manuscripts are a minimum of 30,000 and maximum of 80,000 words in length. Entrants can submit either online or via post.
The competition has sparked the careers of many successful children’s authors, such as Sophia Bennett (author of eight children’s books, including her 2009 winning novel Threads), Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison (authors of Lobsters, shortlisted for the inaugural YA book prize and a 2013 competition shortlistee), and Anna Day (author of The Fandom, Chicken House’s fastest-ever-selling foreign rights title and a version of which was shortlisted for the 2014 competition).
Judges last year included Chicken House’s MD Barry Cunningham (known for discovering J.K. Rowling), Times Arts Editor Alex O’Connell, Waterstones children’s buyer Florentyna Martin, and children’s authors Kate Saunders and Katherine Woodfine.
‘Since 2014, we’ve had three books published, seen them translated into more than ten languages, and spoken at literary events from Hay-on-Wye to Utrecht, and it is basically all thanks to the Times/Chicken House competition.’ – Tom Ellen, co-author of Lobsters and Freshers
‘Entering this competition is one of the best decisions I ever made. I was unpublished, unagented, unheard of, and now I’ve just sold my 25th licence … and I didn’t even win!’ – Anna Day, author of The Fandom
FAQs and full terms and conditions of the competition can be found at
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