Once again, it's been another great year for our Writer of the Year Award. Thank you to those who took the time to enter. As usual we’ve had some fantastic entries. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading them all and are so proud of the achievements of all our students. And for the first time we’ve had a video entry.
Of course this makes choosing our winners very difficult and there was much debate over who should be in the final five and even more over who should win. Now a decision has been made and we're delighted to announce that the winner of the 11th Writer of the Year Award is...
Rachel Louise Dove from West Yorkshire, UK. Congratulations!
Rachel has had a very exciting year. She’s won the chance to have a book published by Mills and Boon and has been collaborating with other writers to raise money for charity.
Our students come from all around the world, from all walks of life and have a vast range of writing interests and successes. This year our runners up include a circus critique blogger, a retiring Municipal Director of Agriculture from Ghana, a retiree from Newcastle and a mother from India who wanted an outlet for her education and creativity.
Hopefully you'll enjoy reading our winners' stories and be inspired to give your writing dreams a chance to become reality. If you do, it could be you picking up the £250 first prize next year.
Katharine Kavanagh - UK
This year Katharine has been discovering what being a writer entails. Watch her video and read her story. Writing can give you more than you think!
Gabriel Adukpo – Ghana
Gabriel wanted a way to supplement his pension. So he combined the knowledge from his career with his love of writing and has earned enough to pay back his housing loan.
Beatrice Charles – UK
Barbara had never contemplated selling her writing before she won her Non-Fiction course. She has now turned her ‘indulgent hobby’ into an additional income stream.
Nidih Paneri – India
Nidih felt her education and creativity were going to waste. Her writing gave her a way to express herself, and earn some money, whist still fulfilling the needs of her family.
Rachel enrolled on her course to hone her writing skills, try her hand at other genres and get into the habit of submitting regularly. She wanted to become more professional in her approach to writing so she would treat it like a job rather than a hobby.
“It helped me to focus on what type of writing I enjoy and discover what I’m not good at and don’t like. I have been published in Writing Magazine, Romance Matters Magazine for the RNA and have had fillers published in That’s Life and Take a Break.
“I won the 2015 Flirty Fiction Prima Magazine and Mills and Boon competition. The prize was £500, a three page feature in the magazine and the chance to work with Mills and Boon on my book. This is coming out on 21st April 2016.
“Also I have three stories in three anthologies with other authors – we’ve raised almost £2,000 for cancer charities.
“My future goals are to continue writing books. I have cut back on my teaching hours in order to do this and focus on my writing career and family.
“My dream really has come true and I’m still pinching myself! I’m also taking the Writing for Children course in order to continue practicing my writing and learn more about submitting to different markets.”
“When I began the course I wanted to know how to make inroads into a career-world completely separate to everything I had known before. I knew I loved words, but wasn’t really sure what the job of ‘writer’ entailed practically.
“The major impact The Writers Bureau has had is in raising my confidence. Just a couple of modules in and I was already feeling able to go out into the world and sell myself as a writer. The course has given me insights into the industry and how to find a place within it, as well as a better understanding of how to structure my own work.
“I have been publishing my own niche website for circus critique, which has begun to receive payment via a user-funding system called Patreon. This work has led to recognition in my field, with work offers ranging from writing book reviews for scholarly journals to running master classes for young people. I have had two paid writing residencies at festivals this year and have been employed to write tweets. Payments total £2575, plus expenses for travel, tickets to events and payments in kind in the form of review copy books.
“I was a regional finalist in the Critic Search competition run by The Stage newspaper and was paid for my contribution with them.
“This year has really been about expanding my understanding of what ‘Being a Writer’ can mean in real terms and branching out into unforeseen pathways.
“2016 will be the year I begin my first book. I’d always imagined that one day I’d write a novel and it’s quite a surprise to find that my first publication will actually be non-fiction.
“My writing is now tied to my unique specialisation and I’d love to extend my reach into radio and then, perhaps, even television documentary.”
“The course has improved my writing skills. My tutor’s comments have been invaluable on manuscripts I have written in response to commissions for articles. These have earned me cash and travel opportunities. Plus, I have used the earnings to pay back a housing loan.
“In 2011 I had a short radio script published entitled A community fights hidden hunger with local leafy vegetables.
“In 2011 and 2013 I took part in media competitions organised by the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Co-operation (CTA) . I was paid for this with a fully sponsored trip to Nairobi, Kenya for an international conference on Innovation, Extension and Advisory Services. In 2013 I earned an online course on Web2.0 and Social Media for Development worth £580.
Gabriel has gone on to write more for CTA earning him a trip to Arnhem in the Netherlands for a cross-learning writing workshop leading to the production of Top 20 Innovations that Benefit Smallholder Farmers. “I treasure my first ever trip to Europe”, he says.
In addition, Gabriel has been commissioned by CTA to write further articles for them and has earned just over £5000 in the past year. For the future he hopes to write full time in the area of agriculture and related fields.
“I started writing as a hobby. Sometimes for a bit of fun I would enter a competition. The concept of selling my writing had never occurred to me: that was an occupation reserved for professional journalists and novelists, surely?
“The Writers Bureau changed that perception. I won the Non-Fiction Writing course with an article on Guy Fawkes. When the blue ring binder arrived I was apprehensive. This was serious stuff. Yet once I started working through the modules and submitting work to my tutor I found it wasn’t at all overwhelming.
“The feedback was prompt and helpful, positive and encouraging. In fact the descriptive piece I wrote for my initial assignment became the basis of the first article sold.
“Although research and writing articles is what I enjoy, the skills I’ve gained have gone way beyond non-fiction writing. I have been taught to identify writing opportunities in places I had never considered. Have gone on to sell several articles and short stories to UK magazines and various online outlets, as well as many smaller items such a fillers, news items, readers’ letters and even poetry.
“I never felt the desire to write and publish a novel: I much prefer the immediacy of submitting articles and short stories to magazines. However I recently won a national competition to write a children’s book. The judges comments encouraged me to seek publication and as a result I am looking further into the process.
“In the last 12 months I have earned £1,300. It reflects the fact I don’t seek to write full time. But when I do sell a piece of work, it is simply the best feeling in the world. And it’s thanks to The Writers Bureau for starting me on this path.
“That short article which I entered into The Writers Bureau competition was the catalyst which has allowed my writing to develop from an indulgent hobby into an additional income stream.”
“When I signed up for the WB course, like most budding writers, my ambition was to get published. Though I had my goals, I was lost. I needed a system that would scrutinise my strengths and weaknesses as a writer and would help me get organised.
“After faltering and fumbling for the past couple of years I eventually found The Writers Bureau. It’s destiny’s gift to me.
“My total earnings are £424 pounds (RS42,200) and my articles have been published by Good Housekeeping, Times Property and Times Real Estate.
“I have also started writing books for children.
“My personal life as a daughter, a wife, daughter-in-law and mother is demanding so pursuing my professional life as an interior designer wasn’t possible. I was left with guilt that my education and creativity would die with me and that’s when I took to writing.
“I wrote, wrote and wrote, but my writing didn’t see the light of day. This wasn’t until I signed up for The Writers Bureau course. Being a potential winner for the Writer of the Year Award is a bonus as I already feel like a winner. Thank you Writers Bureau.”
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 2017 please click here.
You could walk away with the first prize of
“I’m currently working on my fourth book, have been paid for my writing by at least 15 different magazines, and now earn half my income from writing – all thanks to The Writers Bureau’s course."
Sarah Plater - Writers Bureau Writer of the Year 2017