Heather Neill tells of the expanding Write Away competition.
Following the success of the 1998 Write Away competition, The TES is pleased to announce a bigger and better version for 1999, to be launched in September. There will be two separate sections, Primary and Secondary, encompassing pupils between seven and 14. Participants will be asked to contribute a piece of autobiographical writing about an incident they remember.
On May 15, this year's 20 winners arrived at Shakespeare's Globe in Southwark, each accompanied by a teacher and a parent, to celebrate their success in the 1998 TESMcDonald's Write Away competition, organised in conjunction with the National Association for the Teaching of English. They had come from all over the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland. One had journeyed all the way from Portugal.
There was a presentation by Michael Rosen and Berlie Doherty, followed by lunch and a tour of the reconstructed Globe. Each of the 20 shortlisted writers received a cheque for pound;100 and each of their schools pound;400 towards a writer's workshop or residency. The six overall winners, whose pieces were published in TES Friday on May 15, also received pound;100-worth of vouchers to spend on electronic goods. The whole project, including the prizes, was sponsored by McDonald's Restaurants.
All this was the culmination of a project begun almost a year ago when a booklet containing pieces of autobiographical writing, four of them specially commissioned from well-known children's authors, was provided free in The TES. Teachers at key stages 3 and 4 are still using the booklet, and the competition, for which pupils aged 10 to 14 were asked to write an autobiographical piece about a moment of significant change in their lives, proved to be "a very worthwhile experience". The words are those of Janet Bayley, teacher of Rosie Seagar, one of the winners.
Details of the 1999 competition will be announced in the autumn