Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant (Unbound), and Am I Normal Yet? (Usborne) author Holly Bourne have been unveiled as judges of the BBC Young Writers’ Award 2017.
Bourne said she is “so thrilled” to be judging. Shukla, who oversees youth magazine Rife as well as editing anthology The Good Immigrant, “can’t wait to read these incredible stories”. They are joining fellow judge BBC Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine to launch the competition today (9th February).
The award was launched in 2015 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the BBC National Short Story Award and to unearth future writing talent.
Bourne said: “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.”
Shukla, said: “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.” He wrote a blog for The Bookseller on Tuesday (8th February) in which he said: "Now is the time we have to platform young voices. Why? Because, well, while I run the risk of giving you a cliche, we are living in utterly dark times and so, cliches feel like a comfort, so… why? Because children are the future, dude."
Levine returns as chair for the third year to discover teenagers’ “extraordinary” stories. She said: “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."
Liz Allard, executive producer of BBC Young Writers’ Award, said: “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. 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.”
Last year's award was won last year by 14 year old Lizzie Freestone for her “haunting, intriguing and lyrical” story Ode to a Boy Musician and was read on BBC Radio 1 by Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley.
Open to young people aged between 14 to 18, who live in the UK, entrants are asked to create stories of up to 1,000 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 30th September 2017 (subject to change) with the finalists invited to attend the exclusive BBC National Short Story Award 2017 ceremony in London on 3rd October 2017, where the winner will be announced.
The winner will have their story broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and receive a personalised mentoring session with an author. 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 is 5pm (BST) Friday 21st April. The Terms & Conditions and Entry Form, along with a host of resources to help writers get started with their stories, are available at bbc.co.uk/ywa.