Playwright David Wood Helps Find Young WritersDate: 14 September 2005
Young writers are being encouraged to get their pens poised for action as BBC children’s programme Blue Peter is launching a writing competition to find the next generation of playwrights and authors.
The competition was launched on the programme on Monday (12 September 2005) in partnership with Arts Council England. A team of seven writers and illustrators, including playwright David Wood OBE (dubbed the “National Children’s Playwright”), have been commissioned to write the beginning paragraphs of stories and plays which will be available in schools and libraries across the UK during the competition, for the programme’s young viewers to complete. The seven winning stories will be illustrated by Quentin Blake and published in a book to be sold in aid of this year’s Blue Peter Appeal.
David Wood - whose play and musical writing credits include The Tinder Box, The Owl and the Pussycat Went to See, Babes in the Magic Wood, Nutcracker Sweet and The David Wood Magic and Music Show, as well as various Roald Dahl adaptations - will write the opening lines to a play. Current Children’s Laureate Jacqueline Wilson, Anthony Horowitz, Eoin Colfer and Malorie Blackman will each provide the opening paragraph of a story, while Lauren Child and Raymond Briggs will provide the opening images of a picture story.
Arts Council England’s Chief Executive, Peter Hewitt, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to discover new young talent. Blue Peter is such a long-standing favourite with children and the Arts Council is thrilled to be working with them to inspire kids and give them the chance to work with some of the country’s best writers.”
The competition will feature on Blue Peter throughout September and the beginning of October 2005. The closing date for entries is 30 September 2005, and participants must be 15 or under. Judging takes place on 12 October, and the winners will be announced on 17 October 2005. In addition to having their work published and illustrated, the winners will each receive a state of the art laptop computer and will be invited to participate in a writing workshop with David Wood.
Blue Peter editor Richard Marson said: “We know that Blue Peter viewers love books from the success of our Book Club, but now we want to see how they cope with the challenge of coming up with their own story or play. The top class writers we are working with represent a range of styles and we hope there will be something there to stimulate imaginations across the age range of our viewers.”
- by Caroline Ansdell