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BBC launches 'real-life' writing competition
28.09.09 | Katie Allen
The BBC has launched a competition to find "the greatest real-life stories never told", with the prize of a publishing deal "with a prestigious UK publishing house", now disclosed as HarperTrue. The prize, which could go to a maximum of five of the finalists, also includes an advance and royalties based on sales.
The announcement precedes the launch of "The People's Author" competition on ITV1's "Alan Titchmarsh Show", in association with Orion, on 5th October 2009, which offers a publishing contract to the member of the public whose real-life story makes it through four televised heats and a public vote. The Orion title will be published towards the end of spring 2010.
The BBC's "My Story" launches this month with the website: bbc.co.uk/mystory; the public are asked to submit their "true untold real-life stories" in 300–1,500 words to the website or via an entry form in the My Story magazine. Up to 15 successful entrants will get the chance to appear in a TV series on BBC1 during spring 2010.
The entries will be judged through several processes including two panels of judges comprising "professional storytellers" and the TV production company; entrants who have made it to the second panel must tell their stories to the judges—the selected 15 will then go on to appear on the show. A third panel of judges, made up entirely of "storytelling experts" will pick the winners, with the intention that one story from each of five programmes receives the prize.
The My Story site includes previously submitted stories which the public can vote for, "inspiring videos" from James Caan, Lottery-winner Julie Jeffrey and Ray Winstone, among others, and a "writing tips" section. This autumn, a series of roadshows "targeting harder-to-reach audiences to support them to tell their stories" begins tomorrow, 26th September at All Saints Square, Rotherham; continuing to Middlesbrough, Newport, Blackpool, and Glasgow.
Mark Bell, Arts Commissioner, BBC, said: "My Story aims to get the whole nation reading, writing and telling their most remarkable stories.
"The BBC believes that the arts should be accessible to all and we're proud as a publicly-funded broadcaster to be at the heart of the nation's storytelling."