£3,125 in prizes and the opportunity to be published
The Wills Writing Awards “offer a unique, once a year opportunity for any young writer with an ounce of interest in racing or horses. In the direct words of the not entirely racing-orientated John McEnroe, “if you miss them, you cannot be serious”” says Brough Scott, Chairman of the judges for the 10th successive year.
The annual Awards, started in 1993 in memory of journalist and amateur jockey Martin Wills and now in their 20th year, are for creative writing (fact or fiction) around a horseracing theme. They are open to young people resident in the UK or the Republic of Ireland, with three categories: under 26, under 19 and under 15. Each category offers substantial prizes, the main one being £1,250.
Previous winners have gone on to write for the national and racing press, the news agencies and the broadcast media.
Those aged under 26/19/15 at 1 January 2012 are invited to submit a single article by 29 February 2012 via the ‘Entry Requirements’ section of the Awards’ website www.willswritingawards.co.uk. Employees of the national and racing press, in a journalistic capacity, and previous winners in their category are ineligible. Entries are judged anonymously. The entry section of the site will be operational from Monday the 9th January.
Particular importance will be attached by the judges to imagination, use of language and entertainment. Quality of writing is key; a detailed knowledge of horseracing is unnecessary. No previous experience of published or competitive writing is required.
The maximum word counts are 1,200 (under 26s/19s) or 800 (under 15s).
The article must not be published prior to the announcement of the winners of the Awards. No correspondence will be entered into and the judges’ decision is final. Schools should, please, not submit more than three entries per class.
The six prizes, for the winner and runner-up in each category, are £1,250/£750 (under 26s), £500/£250 (under 19s) and £250/£125 (under 15s). In addition, the winners will be published in the Racing Post and The Irish Field. The under 26 winner will also have the opportunity of work experience at the Racing Post.
The Awards will be announced and presented at Newmarket’s prestigious Craven Meeting on Wednesday 18 April 2012, when all six prize winners will be given an expenses paid day’s racing, including a reception in a private luncheon room generously made available by the Racecourse. There will also be a tour of two leading stables.
The eight judges are: Brough Scott (Chairman), three times Sports Feature Writer of the Year, Racing Writer of the Year in 1977 and 2010, and the man behind the publication of the Xmas bestseller, Warrior: the Amazing Story of a Real War Horse; Marcus Armytage, racing writer at The Daily Telegraph and Grand National winning jockey; Simon Barnes, the award-winning chief sportswriter of The Times, who also writes two weekly columns on wildlife and is author of 20 books; Steve Dennis, a feature writer and weekly columnist for the Racing Post, who previously worked for Raceform, the Press Association, Pacemaker & Thoroughbred Breeder and the Daily Star ; Sean Magee, a versatile racing author and journalist who has collaborated with several leading racing personalities, including John Oaksey, Peter O’Sullevan and Lester Piggott; Lissa Oliver, a racing journalist for The Irish Field, International Thoroughbred and three Australian magazines, who is also the author of three novels; Stephen Wallis, Managing Director of Newmarket Racecourses since 2007 and previously Managing Director of Epsom Downs Racecourse; and Catherine Wills, DPhil art historian sister of Martin Wills, and a racehorse owner and breeder.
The Martin Wills Memorial Trust commemorates Martin Wills, an amateur jockey, point-to-point rider, racing enthusiast and journalist who died in April 1992, aged 39.
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