Wednesday, 12 October 2011

A Rather Spectacular Celebration ~ Brit Writers Awards 2011!

Spectacular, innovative, inspiring ~ three words to describe this exciting initiative: The Brit Writers Awards ~ brainchild of Imran Akram ~ designed to encourage unpublished and self-published writers of all ages. 
Buzzing, glitzy… I could go on.  Suffice to say, the event was a huge success, bringing together creative writers, representatives from the publishing world, celebrities, dignitaries and the media.  The venue, Madame Tussauds in London ~ another inspired idea, was perfect. A guaranteed ice-breaker, where people mingled freely, chatted, posed with the celebs permanently in residence, and partook of the plentiful free wine and canap├ęs on offer, before going into the Awards to enjoy the ceremony and yet more wine and delicious food at the table.

Personally, I was super-pleased that I got the chance to chat with Georgina Kirk, author of Once Upon a Princess a very Hairy Beard Did Grow before she was crowned Brit Writers Unpublished Writer of the Year 2011 (overall winner of £10k). Georgina was nervous, hopeful, but mostly, “thrilled to be part of an amazing event, which had inspired her to pick up her writing after a break due to disillusionment”.  That, I think, sums up what the BWA is all about, firing up people to do/continue doing what they are most passionate about, writing!

It was fabulous to see so many children attending the event, who were obviously enjoying the whole experience and, more importantly, had enjoyed the process of getting there and discovering their talent for writing.  For information ~ and quoting the BWA directly: The Brit Writers act as a springboard to trigger a revival of love for creative writing. To date, over 1.8 million school children are involved in their creative writing programme and Brit Writers provide downloadable lesson plans, writing resources and ideas for teachers to keep the subject interesting and bring it all to life.  Just a hunch, but I suspect it’s working.

I was also thrilled to finally meet former teacher, Catherine Cooper, who won last year’s Unpublished Writer of the Year Award, along with a publishing deal, for her children’s novel, The Golden Acorn.  Catherine is now a bestselling author (named by the Observer as one of the four in the running to fill the JKR void) and also has a movie in the making! What many people perhaps won’t know, unless they’ve had the pleasure of chatting with her online, is that Catherine is simply one of the nicest, most supportive and unassuming people you could wish to meet.  I love her work, love her, and wish her the absolute best of luck.

It was, of course, also fantastic to touch base with fellow participants from Groups One and Two of the Publishing Programme.  You shone, guys.  Keep supporting each other and ~ to steal a catchphrase from Strictly ~ Keep Writing!  

As Richard Burton (Infinite Ideas Publishers) reiterated in his speech, the Brit Writers Awards is about encouraging people who are passionate about writing, in all categories.  I think it’s achieving its aim, hopefully making dreams come true.

Oh, talking of which, if George Clooney has gone mysteriously missing from Madame Tussauds, it wasn’t me.  J