Arts Richmond aims to empower youth with Young Writers Festival

Arts Richmond has launched its annual Young Writers Festival, with a focus on empowering young voices in the borough.

The event, which has run for over 30 years, is accepting entries until December 1st and has gained the support of renowned author and new Richmond resident Anthony Horowitz.

Last year’s festival broke the record for applications with over 900 students putting their name forward for consideration.

Head of the competition, Arts Richmond admin officer Linda Hansell said: “We have between 400 and 600 entries a year.

“Having said that we managed, with the help of volunteers, to have a record-breaking amount of entries last year of 901.

“And we don’t forget the one, that’s always important.” 

The competition starts at the beginning of each academic year with clear rules; entrants may write about any subject and in any format that meets the word count, including poems, stories, scripts, and lyrics.

Talent for the competition is sourced from local schools and clubs in the borough, and judging is divided into four categories catering to students from year four upwards.

All shortlisted entrants will be invited to a gala awards event in a prestigious venue in spring 2024. 

AUTHORS ART ANIMATED: Young Actors performing visual representations of written works

What started as a local competition has grown significantly, thanks to the power of social media and passionate volunteers.  

Despite funding challenges the festival has managed to maintain itself, kept afloat from the support of donations and local volunteers who help run the competition. 

The festival has survived thanks to volunteer efforts to help sift through entries, with dedicated literature students from St Mary’s University helping to sort the cream of the crop.  

The Exchange has also been a supportive venue, hosting the awards and displaying the young writers’ works. 

The venue has given life to their written works in the past through a live performed visual spectacle expressed through the medium of dance and acting by local artists.  

CERTIFICATES AWARD: Last year’s winner with former presidents Sir Vince and Lady Cable

Young writer Sai Abhinav Matcha said: “I’m getting to express my thoughts on a piece of paper, really fascinating.” 

The competition connects with Girl Guides, Scouts, local literature groups, and libraries making creative expression outlets more available to a more diverse audience. 

The endorsement of author Anthony Horowitz, who recently moved to the area, has also provided the event with added excitement.  

Horowitz says: “We’re surrounded by history and enchantment and there are stories everywhere.

“Good luck. And get writing!” 

Check Arts Richmond’s website for more details:

Image credits: Arts Richmond

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