Georgie Woodhead, 16, from Sheffield has won the 2019 BBC Young Writers’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University (YWA) for ‘Jelly-headed’, a tragi-comic story about an ill-fated night out that ends in devastating circumstances on a nightclub roof.
Georgie has already been recognised for writing, winning the Foyle Young Poet Award in 2018. In the same year she was highly commended in the Cuckoo Northern Writers Award and runner-up in the young people’s category in the Ledbury Poetry Competition.
The news was announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row with all the shortlisted stories available on the BBC Radio 1 website, on BBC Sounds as part of the Short Works short story podcast and in an anthology. An interview with Georgie will be available on BBC Radio 1’s Life Hacks from 4–6pm on Sunday 6 October and she will receive a personalised mentoring session with an author to further hone her writing skills.
Katie Thistleton, BBC Radio 1 presenter and BBC YWA 2019, Chair of Judges, says:
“‘Jelly-headed’ gripped us all with its harrowing description of a tragedy, and its relatable and heart-breaking theme of friendship. It wasn’t easy to forget and during the judging we kept on coming back to it.”
Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author and BBC YWA 2019 Judge says:
“Our winning story has it all: a complete narrative arc with a satisfying conclusion, without feeling limited by the word count. Nothing feels compromised – we are offered a snapshot of vivid texture and tone, and the opening line stayed with me from the first moment I read it.”
This is the fifth year of the BBC Young Writers’ Award which invites 14 to 18 year olds to submit stories of up to 1000 words. The award was launched as part of the tenth anniversary celebrations of the BBC National Short Story Award and aims to inspire and encourage the next generation of writers.
The judges for the 2019 YWA Award were BBC Radio 1 presenter Katie Thistleton; former teacher and Betty Trask Award winner, Anthony Cartwright; Waterstones Prize and YA Bookseller Prize-winning writer, Patrice Lawrence; Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and British Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year winning author, Kiran Millwood Hargrave; and writer, rapper and world-record breaking human beatboxer, Testament.
The shortlisted stories can be read and listened to online at: www.bbc.co.uk/ywa
We interviewed Georgie Woodhead about winning the BBC Young Writers' Award, and you can read it here.