Stonewall, the LGBT equality charity, has launched its first Young Writers’ competition for budding authors between the ages of 14 and 17.
The competition asks young people to submit short stories and poems that support the theme of LGBT equality: Changing Hearts and Minds. A winner will be picked from both categories with prizes including a £150 book token, while two runners up from each category will receive £50 book tokens. Entries will be judged by author S J Watson, poet Dean Atta and Stonewall’s c.e.o. Ruth Hunt.
Watson, a Stonewall Ambassador, launched the competition last night at Foyles Charing Cross. He said he was “thrilled” to be asked to judge the competition and added: “Changing Hearts and Minds is an important theme to reflect how much progress has been made for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans equality, and I look forward to seeing how our young entrants capture that in their writing.”
Fellow judge Atta has written about homophobia in hip-hop and his own experiences of growing up gay. He has been commissioned to write poems for the Damilola Taylor Trust and the National Portrait Gallery, and was named one of the most influential LGBT people in 2012 by the Independent on Sunday’s Pink List.
He said: “Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans equality is an issue that so many young people feel passionate about, and this competition gives them a great platform to communicate that. I’m a huge advocate of Stonewall’s work and am thrilled to be a part of this with them.”
The competition has been funded by Watson, Nic Ib and The Shelagh Anne Venning Trust, which was set up by Stonewall ambassadors Kath Gotts and Maureen Chadwick (Chad), in memory of Chad’s sister.
Hunt added: “Young lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people, and their allies, are the future of the LGBT equality movement. As Stonewall looks to change hearts and minds, it’s important we hear from young people so we can all continue on that journey together. We look forward to reading those thoughts, experiences and perspectives through short stories and poems, and are delighted to have huge writing talents like Dean Atta and S J Watson judging the competition.”
The deadline for entries for the competition is 22nd May, with the winners expected to be announced on 15th June.