Juno Dawson and Anthony Anaxagorou to join BBC Radio 1’s Alice Levine as BBC Young Writer’s Award judges!

The BBC Young Writer’s Award was created in 2015 in association with Booktrust to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the BBC National Short Story Award and encourage the next generation of writers. This year, two famous literary faces have been added to the judging line-up: Juno Dawson and Anthony Anaxagorou!


Juno Dawson is the award-winning, Carnegie-nominated author of five novels and two non-fiction guides for teenagers. She is also the reigning Queen of Teen after winning the last award back in 2014.

When asked what she was looking for when choosing winners, she said, “When judging, I look at three main things. The first is originality. I love me some fanfiction, but I’m always looking for that uniqueness and creative spark. Next, I love tiny little details…the dog hairs in the carpet can really bring a story to life! Finally, I’m always on the look out for fresh voices: characters that demand to be heard.”

Young Writer's Award judges

Anthony Anaxagorou is an award-winning poet, writer and performer. He has published eight volumes of poetry, a spoken word EP and a short story collection.

We asked Anthony if he was looking for any particular kinds of stories, and he said, “I’m looking for stories which can take me around worlds I didn’t know existed. I want to finish the journey feeling like something has been added to me or maybe even taken away.”

Brennig Davies. BBC National Short Story Awards 2015, New Broadcasting House, London
Brennig Davies. BBC National Short Story Awards 2015, New Broadcasting House, London

The inaugural BBC Young Writer’s Award was won by Brennig Davies for ‘Skinning’, a story inspired by his three cats and ‘Lord of Flies’ (you can listen to it  read by none other than Ian McKellen here).

Has his life changed much since winning this incredible award? We found out. He said, “Before entering the BBC Young Writers’ Award with BookTrust, writing as a career always seemed a bit of a dream, a fantasy I wanted to keep alive but wasn’t sure could ever really come true; since winning, however, it’s seemed like more of a possibility than ever before. This, I think, is how winning the award has changed my life – not only has it offered opportunities in terms of mentoring sessions, and interest from agents and publishers even, but it’s also given me the confidence to continue writing, and continue sharing my work. I’ve been inspired by the support and encouragement that’s come as a result of the award, and feel more positive than ever before about writing. If one day I’m lucky enough to see my name on the cover of a book, I like to think a big part of it will be due to being involved with the Young Writers’ Award.”

Fancy being this year’s winner? Entries for the award close 5pm BST on Friday 29th April – so get writing! Young people aged 14-18 from the UK are being asked to submit a 1000-word story that shows creativity and imagination. The winner will have their story broadcast on Radio 1 and will get a mentoring session with an author!

Everything else you need to know about submitting your masterpiece on the Booktrust website!

Will you be entering? Let us know at @maximumpopbooks!

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Written by Sophie Waters

Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She's also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.

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