Student Log In
33 Years of Success!

Tel: +44 161 819 9922

The Writers Bureau Writer Of The Year 2014

Each and every year we are simply bowled over by the superb success stories we receive as entries for the Writer of The Year Award. And this year is no different. Having such a selection of potentially winning stories makes our judges' job very tricky - there's always fierce debate about who is the most deserving of the title, but they get there in the end.

So, to begin with, we'd like to say a huge thank you to all those who made the effort to enter. We really appreciate it, as there'd be no Writer of the Year if you didn't want to claim the title!

For the first time in the history of Writer of The Year we've included a self-published writer amongst the winners. Why? Because self-publishing is big business these days and with a little bit of time and effort you can build up a great following and, if it's your aim, sales!   

Next, we want to say that this year's winning story is about more than the money - although money is always nice in exchange for your efforts, it's not the main motivation for some writers. And this year's winner, Martin Read - CONGRATULATIONS Martin! - embodies our idea of a successful writer perfectly. He turned a boring retirement into one filled with interviews, articles and plenty of publishing success - just what we like to hear. So, if you fancy finding out how Martin did it read on...

Martin's Story







To celebrate the success and achievements of our students we are pleased to run our annual Writer of the Year Award. First prize is £250 and there are four equal runners-up prizes of £50 each.

We hope you enjoy reading about all of this year's winners. They each have a unique experience of developing their writing through the course, proving that The Writers Bureau home-study methods really are tailor-made to meet each individual's own ambitions.

If you are a student of The Writers Bureau and would like to enter this competition for 2015 please click here.

You could walk away with the first prize of

...and the runners-up are:


Victor WrightVictor Wright, West Midlands.

Victor's story shows us what can be achieved when you put your mind to it. He's not only self-published a novel and five comic books, he's also set up his own publishing company and set about promoting himself at conventions and book signings! Phew - he's been busy! Read his story to find out how it's paying off.

[Read Victor's Story]

Kris RobertsKris Roberts, Somerset.

Kris's story shows us some of the other great benefits writing can give us. It helped Kris work his way through a dark period of his life and come out fighting on the other side. He's now writing articles on a regular basis with more work in the pipeline. Read on to be inspired by Kris's story.

[Read Kris's Story]

Juanita Sheild-LaignelJuanita Shield-Laignel, Jersey.

Think you need a degree to be a writer? Think again. Juanita's story shows how you can still succeed even if you don't have what some people would consider the ‘proper' qualifications to do so. Now Juanita's writing reviews and articles for the local newspaper on a regular basis and getting paid! Find out more about Juanita's success.

[Read Juanita's Story]

Writers Bureau's Writer of the Year Martin Read

Winner - Martin Read

"I thought I could write and my ambition was to do it for newspapers and magazines, so I wanted to get some tips, professional advice and guidance and honest, objective feedback. 

"First the course asked why I wanted to write, making me think through my motives. I am 74 and having had a challenging job, I found retirement very difficult without any mental stimulus, purpose or sense of achievement. I missed the adrenaline of having to hit deadlines and produce professional work.

"Then the course taught me how to evaluate a potential target publication, which was very useful and stopped me wasting time with pointless submissions. The course also challenged me to tackle a variety of subjects that I would not have considered writing about. As a result, I wrote about my cats and was paid £40 for an article in 'Your Cat' magazine. Then 'The Lady' published an anniversary piece of mine, for which I received £80. I also learned from the course that writing fillers could be lucrative and I had success and payment from magazines such as ‘Bella'. The ideas and encouragement provided by the course gave me invaluable confidence - and it worked, I was getting published!

"My future goals are to widen my output in terms of subject matter and different publications, I'm especially interested in national newspapers and magazines. I am also mapping out a family history, and have done extensive research and a few chapters for a novel.     

"As a result of my cricket articles, I have been elected into The Cricket Writers Club - an organisation that counts experienced journalists among its members. One of the perks of this membership is a press card that gives me entry into all of England's cricket stadium press boxes. In 2014 I hope to become a radio cricket commentator and I'm in contact with the BBC regarding that aim.

"This year I have written for my local newspaper - 'The District Post', as well as 'Sussex Sport', a Brighton daily called 'The Argus', 'The Kent Cricket Annual', 'The Cricket Paper' and the Horsham Cricket Festival - a five day professional event. I now regularly cover rugby, motor racing, cycling and the marathon and I'm just starting on a badminton series. I've also written book reviews, obituaries and, following tip-offs, a number of news stories and features. I've recently received a commission from ‘Fine Sussex' magazine to write a feature on a national sports personality for their front cover and have a number of other articles for various magazines in the pipeline.

"Payment is, of course, always welcome, but it gives me enormous satisfaction to see my work appearing in print so frequently, and receive plaudits from readers in the community. I've greatly enjoyed producing articles and have met some interesting people. In the last few months I've interviewed a cabinet minister, a senior official at Westminster Abbey, two rugby internationals, professional cricketers, a top cricket umpire and a professional, international football referee. It's a dream job for me - thank you Writers Bureau for showing me the way."


[more student stories]

dotted line

Victor Wright Victor Wright

"I've always loved writing and longed to write a 'hot' fiction series in the supernatural or horror genre. To do this, I felt I needed a clear understanding of how to write and who for. The Writers Bureau course gave me the confidence I needed to submit chapters of a book I had been working on for my assignments. I ended up re-writing everything I'd already done because of the fantastic feedback I received from my tutor. I am now happy being in the public eye at conventions and book signings and I'm not afraid to talk about my work.

"I currently have one self-published book - this is part of a planned trilogy - and my main aim now is promotion. I need to gain as many reviews and awards as I can to increase my profile. I'm hoping that I'll soon be able to write full-time and would like to branch out into different genres and try other formats of writing, whilst still using my own ideas.

"I've also released five comic books, which I've had great success with at conventions and events and in retail stores. And I've recently been approached by a TV production company, who've shown interest in turning one of my comic books into a film!

"My total earnings so far are £2500 and I now need to concentrate on building online sales. All my work has been self-published, through my own publishing company ‘Geeky Publishing' and, at this stage of my career, it's not about money - it's about establishing myself as a writer." 

Update: Victor has been shortlisted as the MARSocial Author of the Year. Click here for the full story.


[more student stories]

dotted line

Kris RobertsKris Roberts

"When I first signed up for a course with the Writers Bureau I felt like I had taken a leap of faith and it scared me. I'd been struggling through a tough time. I decided that writing might just be a way to fight my way out of the darkness and it was something I knew as I'd been writing since childhood. However, it was only for myself, never to be shared for fear of the ridicule I was certain would come. Because of this fear I didn't try. But, if I was to get better I had to share, and if writing was my method then so be it, it had to be done.

"Choice alone though doesn't provide you with confidence, and I needed a structure to cling to as I climbed. When I found out about the Writers Bureau it delivered a very clear message, one without lace or frills and unashamedly simple... succeed!

"When I first saw my words in print it was life changing. Someone else had read my work, believed in it, paid for it, and put it out there for others to see. As more articles made it to press, my confidence grew and I found I wanted to inject some of myself into my writing. So I made a mental checklist of conditions: I would always be truthful; I would never write for the sake of it and each piece would have a purpose and a point behind it. I would always try to inspire and educate.

"I have been published seven times with 'Airsoft Action' magazine, including advice for players, site reviews and a general interest piece. I have a book review and an event review awaiting publication and I'm currently working on an article that examines the charity organisations that support our veterans.

"I have also had the pleasure of writing a comic book script for 'Commando Comics'. I grew up on these comics, so a childhood dream has been fulfilled by having the script accepted by the editor. It is currently with the artists and I hope to see it on the shelves around the New Year. At the time of writing this I have received £1,197 for my work.

"I have learnt a great deal from this experience, it brought into focus the direction I want to take. What I find amazing is that even as little as a year ago, I would have taken any criticism to heart and would have withdrawn into myself once again. But now I see the experience as being of great value, and I know that the Writers Bureau have helped me to see it in this way. They showed me a path and made me believe that I can walk it."

 [more student stories]

dotted line

Juanita Shield-Laignel Juanita Sheild-Laignel

"As a child I was ill - a lot. During the weeks of illness, when computers, iPads and Kindles were not yet invented, I developed a love of drawing, painting, writing and reading.

"During my final year I missed several months of school. I felt too far behind to succeed in GCSE and 'O' Level exams, so decided to leave school aged fifteen. But of course leaving school without proper qualifications destroyed my dreams of art or teaching college, rendering me hapless in the big wide world.

"Like any normal young person, I wanted to earn my own money, so I went straight into an office job. But, I still always longed to have some kind of creative life and continued to write and paint for pleasure.

"At the age of forty, on my second marriage with a new baby, I needed to rekindle something for myself. So, I decided to contact The Writers Bureau. I'd kept one of their adverts folded up in my handbag for about six years and during that time, looked at it regularly then folded it up again and put it back in my bag. Then finally I had a kind of ‘now or never' experience and as the Creative Writing course was on special offer I just ‘went for it' as they say.

"For my second assignment I had to write an article for a magazine of my choice. I chose a local magazine, 'The Jerseylife' and when my tutor suggested I submit my piece; I did. Some months later I hadn't heard from the magazine, so my husband encouraged me to call to make sure they were in receipt of my article. I very nervously called to make enquiries and the Editor hadn't received it but asked me to re-submit. He then went on to ask if I would like to write a thousand words about a local area that attracts Islanders and tourists alike for the following week. I jumped at the chance as I saw it as an opportunity to gain experience. I have never looked back."

[more student stories]

Subscribe to Receive Writing Tips
and Special Offers
First Name:
Last Name:
E-Mail Address:
Privacy Statement



Institute of Training and Occupational Learning

Bookmark and Share