2017 Judges Announced for the BBC Young Writers Award

Bestselling author, HOLLY BOURNE and ‘Good Immigrant’ editor NIKESH SHUKLA call for ‘authors of tomorrow’ as they join BBC Radio 1’s ALICE LEVINE on judging panel of BBC YOUNG WRITERS’ AWARD 2017

Open to all young people aged 14 to 18, who live in the UK, entrants are asked to create stories of up to 1000 words on any topic with the judges eager to see stories that show real imagination and creativity; high quality writing that can capture and hold the reader. The shortlist of the top five stories will be announced Saturday 30 September 2017 (subject to change) with the finalists invited to attend the exclusive BBC National Short Story Award 2017 ceremony in London on Tuesday 3 October 2017, where the winner will be announced.

The talented winning writer of the BBC Young Writers’ Award 2017 will have their story broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and receive a personalised mentoring session with an author to help develop their writing skills. All five shortlisted writers will be given a guided visit to BBC Broadcasting House and have the chance to meet high-profile authors, publishers, agents and broadcasters. The shortlist will also have their stories published on the BBC Radio 1 website and receive a copy of the BBC National Short Story Award 2017 anthology.

The deadline for receipt of entries is 5pm (BST) Friday 21 April 2017. The Terms & Conditions and Entry Form, along with a host of resources to help writers get started with their stories, are available at www.bbc.co.uk/ywa

Holly Bourne, the bestselling author of Am I Normal Yet? and Nikesh Shukla, editor of youth magazine Rife and celebrated anthology The Good Immigrant have been announced as the judges for the 2017 BBC Young Writers’ Award. They will join BBC Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine who returns as chair of the judges for a third year in a quest for ‘extraordinary’ stories that reveal how teenagers are inspired by the world around them.

Speaking about the Award, which was launched in 2015 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the BBC National Short Story Award and to create a launchpad for the next generation of writing talent, Alice Levine says:

I’m delighted to be judging the BBC Young Writers Award for the third year running. It’s such a privilege to know I’m part of something that helps young people take their first steps on the journey to becoming the authors of tomorrow. The Award always produces incredible stories examining everything from the everyday to the extraordinary. How our writers express so much in so few words never ceases to amaze me, and the quality of the entries is so high that finding a winner isn’t so much like panning for gold as diving into a treasure chest. I hope 2016 has provided all our young entrants with the inspiration to write the kind of unforgettable stories we’ve come to expect from the BBC Young Writers’ Award.

Fellow judge, Holly Bourne says:

I was so thrilled to be asked to judge the BBC Young Writers’ Award 2017! When the world seems chaotic and crazy – writing can be such an incredible outlet. I’m passionate about young people feeling empowered to use their voices and tell the stories that are important to them. Whether that’s an escapist delve into a fantastical world of their imagination, or writing to make sense of the issues of today – I can’t wait to see what they come up with. It’s this kind of energy, honesty and originality that makes the BBC Young Writers stand out year after year!

And judge Nikesh Shukla says:

My work as the editor of a youth magazine, Rife, means that I work with some of the best young minds around, and I feel constantly challenged and inspired by what they write. I can’t wait to read these incredible stories whilst judging the BBC Young Writers’ Award, and am particularly interested to see the impact recent political events have had on teenagers.

The BBC Young Writers’ Award was won last year by 14 year old Lizzie Freestone for her ‘haunting, intriguing and lyrical’ story Ode to a Boy Musician. The story, focussing on a boy set free from his fearful and narrow life by his talent as a musician, was praised as a ‘brilliant
piece of storytelling’. The inaugural 2015 Award was won by Brennig Davies for his tale Skinning, the graphic account of a boy having to skin a rabbit on the orders of his overbearing father. Both winners had the honour of hearing their stories read on BBC Radio 1 by high profile actors Daisy Ridley and Sir Ian McKellen respectively.

Liz Allard, Executive Producer of BBC Young Writers’ Award, says:

Now in its third year, the BBC Young Writers’ Award provides the next generation with the opportunity to showcase their formidable talent as short story writers. Last year’s shortlistees delighted us with their diversity in style, theme and imagination with the winner 14-year-old Lizzie Freestone standing out for her haunting and poetic story. We are eagerly looking forward to uncovering new and equally captivating stories; stories that not only showcase the writers of the future but may well signpost a future winner of the prestigious BBC National Short Story Award.

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