£3,125 in prizes, the opportunity to be published and lunch with Jilly Cooper
“These awards offer aspiring writers a real chance to show their talent, and over the years have unearthed several genuine gems.” John Inverdale (presented the prizes in 2013 and was a judge in 2000)
The Wills Writing Awards, which launched in 1993 in memory of journalist and amateur jockey Martin Wills, are now in their 22nd year. An innovation for 2014 is that the winner of the senior under 26 category has the unique opportunity to have a ‘literary lunch’ with Jilly Cooper, author of over 40 books which together have sold over 12 million copies in the UK alone, and Brough Scott, Chairman of the Awards judges and a leading sports journalist and author.
Brough Scott says:
“The Wills Awards hold a unique place in the racing industry and I don’t think you’ll find any other sport that offers such a brilliant opportunity to launch a journalistic career and get on the industry’s radar. After 22 years they are still going strong with some of today’s top sporting journalists having graced our doors.”
The Wills Writing Awards are for creative writing (fact or fiction) with 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.
Those aged under 26/19/15 at 1 January 2014 are invited to submit a single article by 28 February 2014 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.
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. Entrants are advised to consult the FAQs and ‘Lines of Brilliance’ segments in the Awards section of the website and the feedback press releases 2007-13 in the News section.
The maximum word counts are 1,200 (under 26s/19s) and 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The article must not be published prior to the announcement of the winners of the Awards.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 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 15’s). In addition, the winners will be published in the Racing Post and The Irish Field. As well as the ‘literary lunch’ with Jilly Cooper and Brough Scott mentioned above, the under 26 winner will have the opportunity of work experience at the Racing Post and the option to retain for a year a fine bronze of galloping horses by Cambridge-based sculptress Gill Wiles.
The Awards will be announced and presented at Newmarket’s prestigious Craven Meeting on Wednesday 16 April 2014, 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 a leading Newmarket stables.
This year’s seven judges are: Brough Scott (Chairman), three times Sports Feature Writer of the Year, Racing Writer of the Year in 1977 and 2010, recent works include Warrior, The Amazing Story of a Real Warhorse, which sold over 45,000 copies, and the best-selling Henry Cecil: Trainer of Genius; Marcus Armytage, racing correspondent for The Daily Telegraph and Horse & Hound, author of several books on horseracing and Grand National winning jockey in record time; Alastair Down, Racing Post journalist and three times Horserace Writers’ & Photographers’ Association Racing Writer of the Year, most recently in 2012; Chris Garibaldi, Director of the National Horseracing Museum and supremo of the new Palace House National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art in Newmarket which will open in 2015; Nick Luck, Channel 4 racing presenter and an unprecedented five times Horserace Writers’ & Photographers’ Association Broadcaster of the Year, most recently in 2013; Sean Magee, a versatile journalist and author, whose The Injured Jockeys Fund: Celebrating 50 Years 1964-2014 has just been published; and Catherine Wills, a leading authority on the eminent Victorian portrait painter Sir Francis Grant PRA and a racehorse owner and breeder.
The Martin Wills Memorial Trust is a UK registered charity that commemorates Martin Wills, an amateur jockey, point-to-point rider and journalist, who died in April 1992, aged 39. Information on the Awards is available at www.willswritingawards.co.uk and also via Facebook - Wills-Writing-Awards and Twitter @WillsAwards.
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