Saturday, 30 September 2017

BBC Young Writers' Award 2017 Shortlist!

If you were just listening to BBC Radio One, you would have just heard Alice Levine announce the shortlist to this year's BBC Young Writers' Award 2017! 

For the third year running, this contest is on the hunt for fresh writing talent from teens aged 14 to 18 and this year, there were over 500 entries, which Alice (the head judge) and her fellow judges, authors Holly Bourne and Nikesh Shukla had to read and judge. 

And it is an honour to be asked to reveal the shortlist on the Pewter Wolf with little info from the press release! Each of these stories sound gripping and something I would happily devour in one sitting! 

Now, for those curious about when the winner is revealed, they will be revealed this coming Tuesday  on BBC Radio 4's Front Row (7:15pm, just after The Archers) with the announcement of the winner of the BBC National Short Story Award and the Young Writers' Award winner will have their story read on Alice's show the following Saturday. Fast turnaround, I know! 

Ok, before I give you the press release, if you are curious over this and want to know more, check out or follow the #BBCYWA hashtag on social media (here's the link to Twitter!). 



‘Unique’, ‘distinctive’ and ‘assured’: just some of the words used to describe the highly original stories that make up the shortlist for the BBC Young Writers’ Award 2017 announced live on Alice Levine’s show on BBC Radio 1 today (Saturday 30th September). 

The five stories, ranging from magical realism to the mundane everyday, and written by young writers from 14-18 years old, were each able to create whole worlds in just a few words. Whether it be the gritty subject of domestic and emotional abuse, a child forced to choose between divorcing parents, a struggle to survive in an unforgiving world or a story of retribution, the young finalists showed a sophistication in language and structure beyond their years with their influences ranging from Margaret Atwood to J.K. Rowling, Laurie Lee and Hemingway. 

The stories, all under 1000 words, were praised by the judges for the raw beauty of the writing and the assuredness of the storytelling. Open to 14 to 18 year olds, the Award attracted more than 500 entries.

The shortlisted stories and writers are:

  • Wolf’ by Matt Coleclough, 17, from Bristol. The most experimental in structure, Wolf was inspired by a school writing competition where the image of a wolf was set as the jumping-off point. This lyrical, beautifully realised story draws parallels between the wolf’s struggle for survival and the desperation of a local thief.
  • Decisions’ by Miranda Crawford, 14, from Datchet. The tensions of a marriage breaking down and a child caught between two warring parents are captured through the metaphor of ‘tea’ and ‘coffee’ in this strong, visual story from the youngest of this year’s shortlist. 
  • Something Wicked, Something Wild’ by Victoria Knight, 18, from Solihull. Inspired by Margaret Atwood’s dedication to an ancestor persecuted for witchcraft in The Handmaid’s Tale, this evocative and haunting tale tells a story of revenge and retribution realised after centuries of torment.
  • The Roses’ by Elizabeth Ryder, 17, from Oxfordshire. The story of a relationship in decline, this inventive and imaginative story of emotional abuse was inspired by the idea of sacrifice and new life in the midst of darkness.
  • Sunflowers’ by Abiah Wyatt, 17, from Cornwall. A poignant and dream-like story of domestic abuse told with raw and brutal beauty, the sunflower field setting was inspired by a family holiday in France.  
Alice Levine, BBC Radio 1 DJ and Chair of Judges, BBC YWA 2017 says: "This is my third time having the honour of being a judge and the chair for the YWAs. Every year, when we get to the point of discussing the shortlist, it seems to get harder and harder as the quality is just so high. This year we have five wonderful stories that truly reflect the breadth of talent and imagination in young writers in the country today. It's a very exciting time."

Holly Bourne, novelist and BBC YWA 2017 judge says: Every entry was so unique and it was tough whittling them down to just five. This shortlist showcases the huge scope of imagination and just the sheer writing talent in this upcoming generation. I always say that you should never underestimate young people, and this shortlist is proof of that. We've really found some writers of tomorrow, if not today.”

Nikesh Shukla, writer, editor and BBC YWA 2017 judge says: “It's been a great year for this award. The shortlist is an impressive collection of future stars, each one with a distinctive voice and a bright future ahead of them.”

The five shortlisted writers will attend the exclusive BBC National Short Story Award ceremony on 3 October 2017 at the BBC’s Radio Theatre, when the winner will be announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row. All five shortlisted writers will be given a special guided visit to Radio 1 in 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 copy of the BBC National Short Story Award 2017 anthology.

The winning story will be available on the Radio 1 website after the award ceremony on Tuesday 3 October, and will be read on the Alice Levine show on BBC Radio 1 on Saturday 7 October from 2-4pm. The winner will also receive a personalised mentoring session with an author to enhance their writing skills.

The shortlisted stories can be read online at: 



  • Tuesday 3 October: The announcement of the winners of both the BBC Young Writers’ Award and the BBC National Short Story Award with BookTrust 2017 will be broadcast live from the Award ceremony on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row from 7.15pm on Tuesday 3 October 2017. 
  • Tuesday 3 October: The winning story will be available on the Radio 1 website following the announcement of the winner at the award ceremony at 7.45pm.
  • Saturday 7 October: The winning story will be read aloud on Alice Levine’s show on BBC Radio 1. 


  • This is the third year of the BBC Young Writers’ Award which invites all 14 – 18 year olds living in the United Kingdom to submit short stories of up to 1,000 words. The Award was launched as part of the tenth anniversary celebrations for the BBC National Short Story Award and aims to inspire and encourage the next generation of writers.
  • Follow the BBC Young Writer’s Award 2017 on Twitter: #BBCYWA #shortstories @BBCR1
  • BBC Radio 1 is the UK’s No.1 youth station, targeting 15 to 29 year-olds with a distinctive mix of new music and programmes focusing on issues affecting young people. 
  • Radio 1 has a weekly audience of 10.47 million (including all listeners aged 10+) and is the most watched radio station in the world. Radio 1’s YouTube and Vevo channel has 4.7 million subscribers and receives an average of 1.44 million views a day. Radio 1’s BBC iPlayer channel receives 1.2 million requests per month and has received over 39 million requests since its launch in November 2014. Radio 1 and 1Xtra have a combined 9.2 million audience on social media across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • One of the station’s key purposes is to support new British music and emerging artists, also discovering new talent through BBC Music Introducing. It champions a breadth of live music through platforms like Radio 1’s Big Weekend, Radio 1 in Ibiza, Radio 1’s Future Festival, Radio 1’s Headliners, Radio 1’s Rock All Dayer and Radio 1’s Live Lounge Month, as well as various sessions from the Live Lounge and Maida Vale studios. 
  • Radio 1 is a force for good and the leading voice for young people in the UK, tackling relevant issues through our documentaries, Radio 1’s Surgery, Newsbeat, as well as our social action and education campaigns. Radio 1 also honours the UK’s unsung teen heroes at its annual Radio 1’s Teen Awards event. 
  • BBC Radio 1 is a truly multiplatform station, enabling young audiences to connect to the network and to listen, watch and share great content both at home and whilst on the move - via FM and DAB Radio; Radio 1’s YouTube channel; Radio 1’s BBC iPlayer channel; the BBC iPlayer Radio app; online (; Freeview and other digital television platforms; and via mobile.
  • BBC Radio 4 is the world’s biggest single commissioner of short stories, attracting audiences of over a million listeners to listen to short fiction.  Contemporary stories are broadcast every week, the majority of which are specially commissioned throughout the year. 

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