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Young Northern Writers’ Awards

Our Young Writers’ Awards are presented as part of the Northern Writers’ Awards. They recognise and support young writers based in the North of England.

Young Northern Writers’ Awards

This award is open to young writers aged 11-18 in the North of England. Young writers can submit creative work in any form including prose, poetry, scriptwriting, blogging, songwriting and rap.
There are two age categories, 11-14 and 15-18. Entrants must be 18 years or under when the awards close. The winner in each category will receive prize money of £150. Up to two writers may also be highly commended across the age categories.

Please note entries for the 2022 Young Northern Writers’ Awards are now closed. We will open entries for the 2023 Awards in November 2022.

Matthew Hale Award

The Matthew Hale Award is open to young writers who show promise but have had limited opportunities to pursue their talent. This could be due to a number of factors, including physical or mental ill-health, family circumstances, financial circumstances, lack of access to cultural opportunities or any other reasons.

This award is for a young person aged 11-18 based in the North of England. Entrants must be 18 years or under when the awards close. Young writers can submit creative work in any form including prose, poetry, scriptwriting, blogging, songwriting and rap.

There is one award winner each year. The award consists of a package of support created by New Writing North and is worth £500. The package will be tailored to the specific interests and needs of the winner, but could include anything from one-on-one mentoring with a professional writer, enrolment on a course, books, theatre tickets or a pass to a literature festival.

This award is judged by the family of Matthew Hale and New Writing North.

Please note entries for the 2022 Matthew Hale Award are now closed. We will open entries for the 2023 Award in November 2022.

Applications for the awards are accepted in two ways:

Nomination from an adult working with the young person (for example, parents, teachers or other adults)

Application directly from the young person

You can read more about the awards, including submissions guidelines and information on eligibility criteria here.

If you have any questions about either the Young Northern Writer Award or the Matthew Hale Award please contact the NWN Young Writers team on [email protected].

*Please note the North of England is defined as the areas covered by Arts Council England in Yorkshire, North East and North West. We regret we are unable to accept submissions from outside these areas due to conditions in our funding from Arts Council England.

2022 Winners

  • Izzy Baillie Smith

    Young Northern Writer Award
    (11-14)
    Winner

    Izzy has always loved making stories, inspired by her own experiences and often with a sense of mystery! She is also a keen artist and enjoys imagining her characters in pencil and paint as well as in words. Her plan for the future is to keep on writing and study towards a career in the creative industries.

    ‘I was so excited when I heard I had won the 11-14 category. It has given me a real confidence boost to keep working on my writing, and I have lots of new characters and story ideas taking shape in my head!’

  • Sawyer Brook

    Young Northern Writer Award
    (15-18)
    Winner

    Sawyer Brook is a poet based in Bradford who explores every corner of the self and identity in their work. Mainly focusing on free verse poetry, Sawyer specialises in turning small things into big pieces, often finding inspiration in tiny details of everyday life and turning these into emotive and moving works. Sawyer worked as part of Bradford Young Writers group for six years, writing poetry as well as a full-length novel while part of the group, and will have poems published in their upcoming anthology. They hope to go on to study Creative Writing and Drama and pursue a career in the arts.

    ‘After writing all my life, it feels so surreal to be acknowledged for it! I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self who was just learning — they’d be so proud. This amazing opportunity will help me to further my studies and pursue options to further my writing career.’

  • Nefeli Frida

    Matthew Hale Award
    Winner

    Nefeli is a student and avid reader from South Yorkshire. She was born in Cyprus and she moved to the UK when she was 9. She loves reading and writing, and has written articles and reviews for her school’s magazine and newsletter. Nefeli has had a short fiction piece published in a ‘Truth to Power’ Young Writers‘ Anthology, and has partaken in multiple of her school’s writing opportunities, including a six week program created by the Children’s Capital of Culture organisation. She hopes to continue to have literature and art be a part of her life in the years to come.

    ‘I was really pleased to receive this award and am really excited to see where this opportunity will take me. This, along with the support of my English teacher have really boosted my self-esteem as a writer, and I hope that this will be shown in my future writing pieces.’

  • Ella Youngs

    Young Northern Writer Award
    (11-14)
    Highly Commended

    Writing has always been Ella’s escape route into a different world, whether that be mind-bogglingly crazy or eerily mysterious. When she was younger she would devour every book she could get her hands on, and scribbling down stories and poems thrilled her. Writing still gives Ella that incredible, exhilarating feeling just as it did back then. She enjoys experimenting with both prose and poetry as well as giving characters a compelling storyline. Ella hopes to weave her love for words into her future studies.

    ‘Gaining recognition for my writing is very encouraging and has given me the confidence to believe that I can not only write for myself but it is good enough to share with others, too. There will always be a voice in the back of my mind reminding me that I shouldn’t give up because my writing isn’t as bad as I first thought and I am incredibly grateful for this.’

  • Hala Mukhair

    Young Northern Writer Award
    (15-18)
    Highly Commended

    Hala Mukhair was born, and currently lives, in Sheffield, United Kingdom. She is a poet whose work often covers themes of trauma, relationships, death, loss and social issues. She believes that poetry has the ability to be cathartic and can allow us to move past difficult experiences, thereby strengthening the connection we have with our inner selves. Hala’s deep interest in psychology contributes to the introspective quality of her work, as she wishes to dissect the human experience in order to find a way to understand it.

    ‘I’m extremely excited about being highly commended. I feel very proud and honoured. I believe that this will boost the confidence I have in my work, therefore pushing me to make the most of future opportunities.’

  • Isabelle Pollard

    Matthew Hale Award
    Highly Commended

    Isabelle Pollard is an aspiring poet with Tourette’s Syndrome. With dreams of becoming published, Isabelle attends Rotherham Young Writers to improve her work. She channels her Tourette’s in her poetry and finds writing to be an escape for her. Isabelle hopes her work will provide others struggling with the same condition comfort as she continues to explore who she is as a writer.

    ‘I’m so grateful to have been Highly Commended for the Matthew Hale Award as it has given me new-found confidence in myself and my writing abilities. I’m going to use the award and all the help it has provided me to improve on my poetry going forwards!’

Previous Winners

2021 Winners

Young Northern Writer Award (Y7-9) Winner: Megumi Hoshiko

Young Northern Writer Award (Y10+) Winner: Lily Tibbitts

Matthew Hale Award Winner: Lacey Williamson

Young Northern Writer Award (Y7-9) Highly Commended: Connie Schoales

Young Northern Writer Award (Y10+) Highly Commended: Jennifer Mabbott

2020 Winners

Young Northern Writer Award Winner: Katie Wilson

Matthew Hale Award Winner: Jessica de Beer

Young Northern Writer Award Highly Commended: Naomi Thomas

Young Northern Writer Award Highly Commended: Wambui Hardcastle

2019 Winners

Matthew Hale Award Winner: Matthew Schofield

Young Northern Writers’ Award Winner: Ciah White

Young Northern Writers’ Award Highly Commended: Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith

2018 Winners

Matthew Hale Award Winner: Scarlet Clayton

Young Northern Writers’ Award Winner: Allison Brit

Young Northern Writers’ Award Highly Commended: Dite Bagdonaite

Young Northern Writers’ Award Highly Commended: Georgie Woodhead

2017 Winners

Cuckoo Award Winner: Eloise Unerman

Cuckoo Award Highly Commended: Grace Middleton

Cuckoo Award Highly Commended: Holly Cartwright

2016 Winners

Cuckoo Award Winner: Kate Collins

Cuckoo Award Highly Commended: Jen Szandrowska

Cuckoo Award Highly Commended: Isabella Sharp

Matthew Hale Award Joint Winners: Amy Langdown and Shana Nichols

2015 Winners

Cuckoo Award Winner: Zainab Abbass

Matthew Hale Award Winner: Jowita Krasik

2014 Winners

Cuckoo Award Winner: Jasmine Simms

Matthew Hale Award: Justine Mewton