Wicked, the musical based on Gregory Maguire's take on the land of Oz (Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West), hit the stage 10 years ago this September. Not as long-running but similarly popular, the Wicked Young Writer Awards were established in 2010 'in order to link the important messages of the production with a competition that would inspire young people to use their writing to look at life a little differently.'
This year, the head Judge was Cressida Cowell and she was full of praise for the 'poignant, amusing and captivating' entries: 'They addressed really big issues, war, homelessness, prejudice, and abuse' she said. 'As an author, one of the main messages I want to get across to the young people in [the UK] is that a career in writing or the Arts is an option open to them. These young writers whether finalists or winners need to carry on writing.'
This year also saw the inaugural For Good Award for non-fiction which aims to encourage 15-25 year olds to 'write essays or articles that celebrate the positive impact that people can have on each other, their community and the world we live in.' The finalists in these categories wrote about, among other things, 'Accepting Help', 'How communities like Nerdfighteria use the internet to empower people and spread positivity around the world', 'Your Word is Power' or 'Reading is FUN!'
All finalists and winners (in all age categories, from 5 to 25) to be found here.