The actor Peter Capaldi will return to host the eighth edition of Voices, the national creative writing competition for children in care and young care leavers run by Coram Voice.
The competition, sponsored by UK management consultancy Cadence Innova, is now open for entries until 17 December 2023. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony, hosted by Peter alongside former competition winner, Claire Wilden, in early 2024.
Coram Voice, a leading charity championing the rights of care-experienced children and young people, is calling on all children and young people in and around the care system to enter the competition and get their voices heard.
The theme of this year’s competition is ‘What Makes Me Different?’ and entries can be in any written form including poems, short stories, raps or newspaper articles, with a 500-word limit. There are four age categories: primary school (5-10), lower secondary school (age 11-14), upper secondary school (age 15-17) and care leavers (age 18-25).
Entries will be judged by an expert panel of acclaimed children’s authors, some of whom are care-experienced. Previous judges include the former Children’s Laureate Lauren Child, Waterstones Children’s Book award winner Patrice Lawrence, and the multi award-winning children’s author Jarvis. Judges for the 2024 edition are due to be announced shortly, alongside a group of young judges who were finalists in previous years of the competition. The Voices awards ceremony will also be co-hosted by Claire Wilden, a former Voices winner and young judge.
Peter Capaldi said: “I’m delighted to be hosting the Voices 2024 awards ceremony alongside one of the competition’s former winners, Claire. I’ve been proud to support the competition for many years, and it’s always an honour to meet the young writers, hear their stories and celebrate their achievements. I’m always blown away by the talent of all the children and young people who take part, and I can’t wait to see the entries this year. I wish all our writers the very best of luck!”
Claire Wilden, former Voices winner, said: “When I first entered the Voices competition, I was a nervous young person who had just gone into care and needed an outlet. After five years of entering and not being shortlisted, I won the Voices competition in 2020. The next year, I became a young judge, which was an incredible experience. And this year, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to co-host the awards alongside Peter Capaldi.”
Brigid Robinson, Managing Director of Coram Voice, said: “Care-experienced children and young people have incredibly powerful stories to tell, and I am blown away by their honesty, authenticity and creativity. The Voices competition is the chance for young people to write about what matters to them most, to be heard, and to feel proud of themselves. Every year, I hear about the successes and achievements of former Voices finalists and winners, it reminds me of why we run this competition. I can’t wait to read this year’s entries!”
Gita Singham-Willis, Founding Partner at Cadence Innova, said: “Supporting Coram Voice and their crucial work with children and young people in care, is something we are immensely proud of. The Voices Awards is an inspiring competition that champions children’s creativity and enables them to express themselves – a purpose very close to our heart at Cadence Innova as we continue our mission to bring on positive change for individuals and society as a whole.”
Entries can be submitted online at coramvoice.org.uk/voices until 17 December 2023. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in early 2024.