BBC Young Writers' Award 2017 Launches Today

Bestselling author Holly Bourne and editor of Rife Magazine and celebrated anthology The Good Immigrant have been announced as judges for the 2017 BBC Young Writers' Award, along with returning chair, BBC Radio 1's Alice Levine. Today they begin their quest for 'extraordinary' stories that reveal how teenagers are inspired by the world around them. 

The Award was launched in 2015 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the BBC National Short Story Award, to create a launchpad for the next generation of writing talent. Last year the Award was won by 14 year old Lizzie Freestone for her story Ode to a Boy Musician. 

Open to all young people aged 14 to 18 that live in the UK, entrants are asked to create stories of up to 1000 words on any topic, with the judges eager to see stories that show real imagination and creativity, and high quality writing that can capture and hold the reader. 

The shortlist of the top five stories will be announced on Saturday 30th September 2017 with the finalists invited to attend the BBC NSSA 2017 ceremony in London on Tuesday 3rd October 2017, where the winner will be announced. The winner will also have their story broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and receive a personalised mentoring session with an author to help develop their writing skills. All five shortlisted writers will be given a guided tour of 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 free copy of the BBC NSSA anthology. 

The deadline for receipt of entries is 5pm (BST) Friday 21st April 2017. For more information and resources to help writers get started with their stories, click HERE.

Another great opportunity for young writers comes from Rife Magazine (edited by BBC YWA judge Nikesh Shukla), who are crowdfunding for a book of essays on what it's like being young in the UK today, by writers under 24 that will be published by Unbound. 

'The country is messed up and our future is looking gloomy. We, Britain’s young people, have to live with the repercussions of what the oldies have done --- we didn’t vote for Brexit, we didn’t vote in Theresa May, and you know what? We’re sick of being talked about instead of talked to. So here’s our book. Written for you by us. You’re welcome.
 If you think that’s all a bit in your face, you should know that it’s never been harder to be young, so it’s no wonder we’re angry. One in four people under 25 will be affected by mental illness. 52% of all people under 25 have looked for advice on homelessness. As university fees rise, job opportunities dry up and houses get more expensive, we are facing an ever-expanding chasm of doubt, instability and, basically, buckling down for a really, really rough time for the rest of our lives.

The voice of this generation is noticeably absent from mainstream media, online comment pieces and from news reports. Oi, editors! What are you so scared of? Why aren’t you commissioning us? As usual, it looks like it’s up to us to commission ourselves.

Curated by author and editor of The Good Immigrant, Nikesh Shukla and journalist/Rife alumna Sammy Jones, Rife: 20 Stories From Britain's Youth collects twenty young people’s essays about money, mental health, sex, gender, equality, education, crime and the future.

The writers, all under 24 and selected from all over the UK, include Ella Marshall, Liv Little, Amber Kirk-Ford, Rosalind Jana, Ailsa Fineron and many more. Some have been chosen from Rife Magazine, Bristol’s youth magazine for 13-19 year olds, mentored by Nikesh and produced by Watershed, and some have been chosen for their outstanding contributions to a spectrum of crucial conversations. What they all have in common are their essential insights into what it means to be young in Britain right now. Against the apocalyptic backdrop 2016 has provided us with, our stories prove we are still full of ideas and aspirations. And maybe they’ll fill you with hope too.'

So if you’re under 24, with an interesting story to tell, get in touch with Rife at editor@rifemagazine.co.uk and if you'd like to support their crowdfunding campaign click HERE.