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The article must not be published prior to the announcement of the winners of the Awards.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.
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.