Winners announced for horserace writing awards

  • Girls won out at this year’s Wills Writing Awards, with five of the seven prize winners being female.

    The aspiring young racing journalists gathered at Newmarket racecourse today (14 April) to receive their prizes for this year’s Wills Writing Awards.

    The horseracing writing awards for young people are now in their 18th year. It is a creative writing competition, fact or fiction based around a horseracing theme and remembers Martin Wills, a journalist and amateur jockey who died in April 1992, aged 39.

    This year the Wills Writing Awards attracted 169 entries, equalling last year’s record.

    The winner of the under-26 award was 25-year-old Aisling Crowe from Derrymoyle in Co Laois, Ireland

    She is studying for a BA in English at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, and hopes to become a journalist.

    Aisling won £1,250 for her article, Promises, about the personal bonds that racing can create.

    Brough Scott, who chaired the judging panel, said: “It is a pleasure to be involved with the Martin Wills Awards. They are an annual confirmation of the young writing talent that still draws inspiration from the racing game.

    “The successful entries were by turns illuminating, funny, exciting and, in Aisling Crowe’s ‘Promises’, also enviably poignant and sad.”

    The runners-up were John Condren, 23, from Co Kildare, Ireland and 25-year-old Charlotte Cundall from Driffield in East Yorkshire. John wrote Never Satisfied, about an elderly groom inspiring a young jockey. Tied with John was Charlotte Cundall who is leading the Yorkshire Ladies’ Novice Point-to-Point Championship, wrote Never Stop Dreaming, about her journey from broken back to first winner.

    The under 19s was won by Victoria Griffiths, 17, from North Buckland, North Devon, and runner up was Violet Macdonald,16, from Charlbury in Oxfordshire

    Tom Cantillon, 14, from Naas in Co Kildare won the under 15s. His brother, Jack Cantillon, won the 2009 Under 19 award. Runner-up was Lucy Eddis, 11, from Colchester in Essex.

    The prize-winners will additionally receive an all-expenses-paid day’s racing plus a tour of Henry Cecil’s and James Fanshawe’s yards.

    The winning entries can be read on the awards’ website (www.willswritingawards.co.uk).

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