Northern Writers’ Awards 2018 Winners

It’s with great excitement we are finally able to announce the winners of this year’s Cuckoo and Matthew Hale Awards, which were announced at this year’s Northern Writers’ Awards ceremony. It was a fantastic evening of celebration and a recognition of the talent, hard work and determination of these young writers.

The sun shone down on our small garden at the New Writing North offices as the winners of the Northern Writers’ Awards young peoples’ categories gathered to have their official photographs taken. Despite the long journeys, sticky heat and nervous anticipation of the ceremony ahead, the young writers smiled and squinted through the sunlight while proud family and friends snapped photos on the sly.

Cuckoo Award Winner 2018

The Cuckoo Young Writers’ Award was judged by young adult fiction writer Lisa Williamson, who said she was ‘blown away’ by the high quality of work submitted this year.

Allison Birt

The definitive winner of this year’s Cuckoo Young Writers’ Award is Alison Birt (17). Allison has recently moved from Carlisle to Newcastle and is currently studying for her A-Levels at Newcastle Sixth Form. Allison is a member of Northern Stage’s Young Company where she was first encouraged and inspired to start writing. She aims to pursue a career in the arts and hopes to write her own play someday. Allison performed a piece for us at the ceremony, impressing the audience with her cool and collected performance and poignant poetry

Alison says ‘winning the Cuckoo’s Young Writers’ Award is absolutely mind blowing to me! I only started writing poetry this year, so to receive this award has really inspired me to continue to be passionate about writing and I can’t wait to see where writing takes me in the future.’


Cuckoo Award Highly Commended

It was extremely hard for Lisa to choose just one winner, so she selected two more writers she felt it was necessary to recognise with a Highly Commended award.

Dite Bagdonaite

Dite Bagdonaite (16) received a Highly Commended award for her creative writing. Dite joined us from Liverpool and having moved to the UK aged 3 from rural Lithuania, quickly picked up a love for language and the written and spoken word. Dite has had work published with school magazines and is excited for her future as a writer.

Dite says ‘These awards are only the beginning; they have given me so much confidence in my work. I feel inspired to seek other writers and hope to join the thriving community of creatives in the North.’

Cuckoo Award Highly Commended

Georgie Woodhead

Georgie Woodhead (15) is our next Highly Commended award winner. Georgie travelled from Sheffield and is a dedicated member of Sheffield Young Writers run by Hive South Yorkshire. Georgie’s poetry wowed the judges and we’re excited to see what the future has in store for this talented young writer.

Georgie says ‘I haven’t really ever been highly commended for an award as serious as this before, and it’s humbling to know that people other than myself who are experts in the field actually like my work. It’s given me confidence in the fact that people might read and enjoy the things that I write and has allowed me to value my work through the eyes of another. I hope that this award will also open many different opportunities up to me, but being only young, I’m not sure exactly where those opportunities will lead.’

Matthew Hale Award Winner 2018

Scarlet Clayton

The winner of the Matthew Hale Award is the wonderful Scarlet Clayton (12), who joined us from Thornton, a village on the outskirts of Bradford. Scarlet is extremely passionate about her writing and an avid reader. Scarlet has asked us to specifically thank her English teacher Mr Croft for nominating her for this award, and her previous teacher Miss Brown, who she says helped her to get her writing to where it is today. Benefactor and judge Spike Hale presented the award to Scarlet and and said that Scarlet is ‘witty and inventive and created a believable and fascinating world in her writing.’

Scarlet says ‘Winning the Matthew Hale award means a lot to me because I’ve never won anything before and I’m so pleased to have this amazing opportunity. I’m also looking forward to continuing to develop my relationship with the New Writing North team and the Hale family. In the future, I’m hoping to become an author or study journalism and winning this award has inspired me to keep on writing, no matter what.’