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Stonewall launches young writers' competition

  • Judges include best-selling author S J Watson, poet Dean Atta and Stonewall CEO

  • Theme for entries is 'LGBT equality: changing hearts and minds'

  • Competition supported by The Shelagh Anne Venning Trust and S J  Watson and Nick Ib

Stonewall, the lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity, has launched its first Young Writers’ Competition for authors between the ages of 14 and 17. The competition invites young people to submit short stories and poems that support the theme of ‘LGBT equality: changing hearts and minds’.

Entries will be judged by best-selling author S J Watson (Second Life and Before I Go to Sleep), poet Dean Atta and Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt. S J Watson, a Stonewall Ambassador, launched the competition at Foyles’ stylish new event space in London on 27 February 2015. He said: ‘I’ve been a Stonewall Ambassador for three years and was thrilled to be asked to judge this writing competition. Changing Hearts and Minds is an important theme to reflect how much progress has been made for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, and I look forward to seeing how our young entrants capture that in their writing.’

Dean Atta, who will judge the competition alongside Watson, has written about homophobia in hip hop and his own experiences of growing up gay. He has been commissioned to write poems for the Damilola Taylor Trust and the National Portrait Gallery, and was named one of the most influential LGBT people in 2012 by the Independent on Sunday’s Pink List.

Dean Atta said: ‘Lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality is an issue that so many young people feel passionate about, and this competition gives them a great platform to communicate that. I’m a huge advocate of Stonewall’s work and am thrilled to be a part of this with them.’

The competition has been funded by S J Watson and Nic Ib, and The Shelagh Anne Venning Trust, which was set up by Stonewall Ambassadors Kath Gotts and Maureen Chadwick (Chad), in memory of Chad’s sister.

Ruth Hunt, Stonewall CEO, said: ‘Young lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, and their allies, are the future of the LGBT equality movement. As Stonewall looks to change hearts and minds, it’s important we hear from young people so we can all continue on that journey together. We look forward to reading those thoughts, experiences and perspectives through short stories and poems, and are delighted to have huge writing talents like Dean Atta and S J Watson judging the competition.’

Entrants can submit their work into two categories: poetry or short stories. A winner will be picked from both categories, and prizes include a £150 book token. Two runners up from each category will receive £50 book tokens.

The deadline for entries is 9 August 2015.

Enter the competition 

You can also keep up with news on the competition by following the hashtag #StonewallYW