Fourth Annual WICKED Young Writers' Award Shortlist Announced

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Fourth Annual WICKED Young Writers' Award Shortlist Announced

WICKED, the global musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, has announced that 100 entries, selected from more than 5,200 submissions, have been shortlisted for the 2014 Wicked Young Writers' Award.

The Award was established in 2010 as a way of linking the themes and messages of the long-running musical with a competition to inspire self-expression and creativity through the writing of young people aged between 5-25 years old.

This year's entries saw young people exploring themes and concerns such as ageing, enduring love and loss, global warming, bullying, self-harm, and the effects of war.

Michael Morpurgo said of this year's Award: "All these talented young writers have allowed their imagination to live and breathe. They haven't been afraid to tell their stories and speak their poems down and to express themselves with originality and flair. I have loved reading their writing and hope that you will as well."

Wicked's Executive Producer, Michael McCabe said: "As a show, Wicked strives to draw upon the thrill of live performance to inspire discussion around its story and themes. It hugely rewarding to see so many young people across the country engage with these values through the Wicked Young Writers' Award."

In the younger categories, the entries were funny, scary and surprisingly complex: an alien helps a lonely little girl with cerebral palsy make new friends; a bully is given a dose of his own medicine; a happy, greedy Venus flytrap devours the world; and a surprisingly funny and mature poem about Albert Einstein.

Older categories' entries, peopled with characters ranging from soldiers suffering with PTS to unwed teenage mothers, used sophisticated imagery and language to explore alienation, death, self-harm and struggling to conform without losing one's identity.

The eldest 18-25 year old category was surprisingly mature, unselfconscious and insightful, providing a first look at the emerging voices of a new generation: moving, dark and sometimes playful themes comprised of repressed sexuality, love, murder and dementia. This is writing directly from the heart, trying to make sense of a complicated world.

The overall winners will be announced on Thursday 7 August at a special event at London's Apollo Victoria Theatre, home of the award-winning musical. The Award is championed by Patron Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, and spearheaded by Chair Judge and bestselling author, Michael Morpurgo, who was joined in the shortlisting process by Michael McCabe, UK Executive Producer of Wicked, Dean Atta, acclaimed poet and playwright and Henry Smith, founder and director of Lend Me Your Literacy.

Discover more at www.WickedYoungWriters.com.

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