New writing competition for schools

The National Literacy Trust, the acclaimed-stage musical Wicked and award-winning author Sharna Jackson, have invited UK schools to take part in a new writing competition that challenges pupils to change our world for the better. 

‘Be the Change’, inspired by the themes in one of the most well-known songs from the musical Wicked, ‘For Good’, challenges pupils aged 9 – 14 to write persuasively about something they want to change for the better in our society. 

Tim Judge, head of schools programmes at the National Literacy Trust, said: “With 1 in 3 children in England leaving primary school without being able to write well, Wicked Writers is a brilliant programme to engage children and young people with one of the most important skills they’ll need to thrive in life.

“But the competition also leads the way in showing pupils that writing can help you engage with your society. Whether it’s advocating for a cause you believe in on social media or writing a letter to your MP, Be the Change can start young writers on their journey of using writing to change something they passionately believe in.” 

A judging panel, including members of the Wicked cast and Sharna Jackson, will pick winners from each of two age categories. Those chosen will win tickets for their entire class to see Wicked at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, a writing workshop with Sharna Jackson, and a bundle of books for their school’s library. 

Michael McCabe, executive producer of Wicked, said: “We’re honoured to partner with the National Literacy Trust and jointly announce the new schools creative writing competition, ‘Wicked Writers: Be The Change’ as part of the continued development of our Wicked Active Learning resource. 

“We originally established our annual ‘Wicked Young Writer Awards’ competition in 2010 to champion literacy and the vital work of the National Literacy Trust.  

“Until it was curtailed by the pandemic, the competition inspired tens of thousands of young people to write stories and poems and brought the experience of live theatre to many for the first time.  

“We’re immensely proud of its legacy and grateful for the invaluable support we received, particularly from Sir Michael Morpurgo, Cressida Cowell MBE, and our patron, Her Majesty The Queen Consort.  

“We’re gratified to now continue its legacy through this fantastic new school’s creative writing competition.” 

Sharna Jackson, author of the award-winning High-Rise Mystery series of children’s books, added: “I’m delighted to be not only part of the judging panel, but also working directly with schools on the Wicked Writers: Be the Change competition – a fantastic initiative that gets young people thinking about ways to make a difference, and then gets them writing, applying their words to matters that are meaningful for them.  

Sharna Jackson
Sharna Jackson

“I can’t wait to read and most of all, be persuaded to follow their causes. I’m looking to see what tools they use from persuasive writing toolboxes – I’m partial to the rule of three, alliteration and a powerful, punchy ending that stays with you.” 

Find out more about Wicked Writers here.

Find out more about Wicked Active Learning here

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