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Friday, January 4, 2013



£3,125 in prizes and the opportunity to be published


“2013 may be the 21st year of the Wills Writing Awards, but the competition came of age many years ago” says Brough Scott, Chairman of the judges for the 11th successive year. “Long may the Awards offer their uniquely generous opportunity for those who want to make their writing sing.”


The annual Awards, promoted by a registered UK charity, launched in 1993 in memory of journalist and amateur jockey Martin Wills and now in their 21st year, are for creative writing (fact or fiction) around 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, the main one being £1,250.


Last year’s under 26 joint winner, five-times Irish Champion Amateur Jockey Patrick Mullins, had his article on his tragic experience when riding Dooneys Gate in the 2011 Grand National - published as the principal comment piece in The Daily Telegraph on the day before the 2012 Grand National.


Those aged under 26/19/15 at January 1, 2013, are invited to submit a single article by February 28, 2013, 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.


The maximum word counts are 1,200 (under 26s/19s) or 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The article must not be published prior to the announcement of the winners of the Awards.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, please, 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 15s). In addition, the winners will be published in the Racing Post and The Irish Field. The under 26 winner will also have the opportunity of work experience at the Racing Post.


The Awards will be announced and presented at Newmarket’s prestigious Craven Meeting on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 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 two leading stables.


This year’s six judges are: Brough Scott (Chairman), three-times Sports Feature Writer of the Year, Racing Writer of the Year in 1977 and 2010, his Henry Cecil, Trainer of Genius will be published in April; Marcus Armytage, racing writer at The Daily Telegraph and Grand National-winning jockey in record time, who was shortlisted for Racing Reporter of the Year 2012; Sean Magee, a versatile journalist and author, most recently of Desert Island Discs:70 Years of Castaways ; Lee Mottershead, a writer on the Racing Post, who was named Racing Writer of the Year in 2011; Leo Powell, who is in his 10th year as Editor of The Irish Field; and Catherine Wills, D Phil art historian sister of Martin Wills, and a racehorse owner and breeder.


The Martin Wills Memorial Trust commemorates Martin Wills, an amateur jockey, point-to-point rider and journalist who died in April 1992, aged 39.

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