ENTRIES FOR 24TH MARTIN WILLS WRITING AWARDS CLOSE ON 31 JANUARY - in association with The National Horseracing Museum and British Horseracing Education & Standards Trust
Over £3,000 in prizes. New under 12 category. Frankie Dettori to present prizes.
Frankie Dettori, who will be presenting the prizes
There is still another month or so to submit entries for the 2016 Martin Wills Writing Awards which have a closing date of 31 January (and not the end of February as in past years).
The Awards are for fine writing, either fact or fiction, on a horseracing theme – and in the past have launched the careers of some of today’s top journalists.
The Martin Wills Memorial Trust welcomes entries from people aged under 26 and this year for the first time there is a new Under 12 category. There is also a tweet competition for the second year.
With great prize money on offer, the chance to be published and an all-expenses paid day’s racing at the Newmarket Craven meeting on 13 April for winners and runners-up, there is still plenty of time to enter.
Brough Scott, Chairman of the Judges, says:
“If you like writing, then please do put pen to paper and give it a go. These Awards are about diversity and we don’t know what we are looking for until we see it! This year we have also created a few opening sentences which may help the younger entrants get started.”
Working with The National Horseracing Museum and BHEST (the British Horseracing Education & Standards Trust) for the first time, there has already been engagement with schools at both a local and national level.
Judith Allen, Executive Director of BHEST, says:
“At BHEST we have been promoting the Martin Wills Writing Awards to schools across the country and are working with ten schools in particular whose pupils have been inspired by taking part in a Racing to School education day. Teachers value the opportunity to use the competition as a basis for follow-up work as, not only does it help to embed the pupils’ learning from the day, but it also provides a way of harnessing their enthusiasm and encouraging an on-going interest.”
Gabrielle Bell, Education Officer of The National Horseracing Museum, says:
“I have been working with year six classes in two primary schools in Newmarket, using their experiences from previous visits to The National Horseracing Museum, Dalham Hall Stud and Newmarket Racecourses. The children remembered a lot during my outreach visit.
“The children have spent this week planning, drafting and redrafting their stories… they are really excited about their efforts.”
For further details please visit www.willswritingawards.co.uk
Notes to Editors:
The Awards are for fine writing (fact or fiction) on a horseracing theme of a sort suitable for publication in the Racing Post or The Irish Field by young people resident in the UK or the Republic of Ireland. The Awards have four categories: under 26, under 18 (NOT under 19, as in recent years), under 15 and under 12. The under 12 category, as well as the earlier opening and closing of the Awards, reflect the new association. For the first time, there will also be £200 and a trophy prize for the winning school in the three younger categories.
Those aged under 26/18/15/12 on 1 September 2015 are invited to submit a single typewritten article from 1 October 2015 until 31 January 2016 via the ‘Entry Requirements’ section of the Awards’ website www.willswritingawards.co.uk. To help entrants get started, articles may commence with the words (although there is no obligation), “My day at the races started….” or “Excitement danced in the sky like….”
There is also a Twitter competition, as in 2015, to which anyone under 26 is eligible to enter (apart from the 2015 winner).
Employees of the national and racing press, in a journalistic capacity, are ineligible for the under 26 categories. Previous winners in their category (or its near equivalent) are also ineligible. Entries are judged anonymously.
A detailed knowledge of horseracing is unnecessary. No previous experience of published or competitive writing is required. Entrants are strongly advised to consult the FAQs (in the Awards section of the website), as well as the ‘Lines of Brilliance’ section and the Feedback press releases 2007-15 (in the News section).
The permissible word counts are 800-1,000 (under 26s/18s), 500-600 (under 15s) and 200-500 (under 12s).
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 eight prizes, for the winner and runner-up in each category of the main competition, are £1,000/£500 (under 26s), £500/£250 (under 18s), £250/£125 (under 15s) and £200/£100 (under 12s). In addition, the winners will be published in the Racing Post and The Irish Field. The under 26 winner will have the opportunity of work experience at the Racing Post and the option to retain for a year an attractive bronze of two galloping horses. There is no obligation on the judges to award prizes if the standard is insufficient.
The @WillsAwards Racing Tweet competition, which is in its second year, should focus on a non-fictional subject connected to racing. The tweet should be submitted to @willsawards #comp using the 121 remaining characters only and tweeted no later than 31 January 2016. It should be in the participant’s own words and not lifted from any existing writing on racing. There should only be one entry per person and the entrant should be under the age of 26 on 1 September 2015 and resident in the UK or the Republic of Ireland. The judges will select the winning entry, which carries a prize of £250.
The prizes will be presented at Newmarket’s prestigious Craven Meeting on Wednesday 13 April 2016 by Frankie Dettori, when all nine prize winners will be given an expenses paid day’s racing, including a reception in a private luncheon room generously made available by Jockey Club Racecourses. There will also be a tour of James Fanshawe’s historic Pegasus Stables, built by the greatest of 19th century jockeys, Fred Archer.
This year’s nine judges are: Brough Scott (Chairman), three times Sports Feature Writer of the Year and twice Racing Writer of the Year; Judith Allen, Executive Director of BHEST; Marcus Armytage, racing correspondent for The Daily Telegraph and Horse & Hound and Grand National winning jockey in record time; Gabrielle Bell, Education Officer of the National Horseracing Museum; Chris Cook, Deputy Racing Editor of The Guardian, who was Racing Reporter of the Year 2014; Sean Magee, whose book projects include Horse Racing Heroes, in collaboration with the late great Sir Peter O’Sullevan, a judge in the inaugural year of the Awards; Lee Mottershead, a racing writer for the Racing Post; Amy Starkey, a Regional Director of Jockey Club Racecourses; and Catherine Wills, Martin Wills’ sister, who holds a D Phil and is a knowledgeable racehorse owner and breeder.
The Martin Wills Memorial Trust is a UK registered charity which commemorates Martin Wills, an amateur jockey 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.
For further information, please contact Liz Ampairee on 07733-331 945, firstname.lastname@example.org or Charles Ponsonby on 01993- 811 717, email@example.com or, in Ireland, Andrew Kavanagh on 05997- 73105, firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Horseracing Museum – www.nhrm.co.uk - The National Horseracing Museum was established to encourage the preservation of items of historic and scientific interest connected with horseracing. It currently occupies the historic Subscription Rooms and was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen on 30 April 1983.
In 2016, Palace House, the last remaining element of King Charles II’s Newmarket racing palace, will open its doors to the public as the new National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art. The centre will include a new museum that celebrates the history and science of horseracing, a national gallery of British Sporting Art and a flagship home for the Retraining of Racehorses charity where thoroughbred horses will be stabled.
The British Horseracing Education & Standards Trust - www.bhest.co.uk is responsible for the development and delivery of ‘Racing to School’, an education programme which supports over 10,000 pupils across the country every year to practise their school subjects in the unique setting of a racecourse, trainer’s yard or stud.
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