Actor Peter Capaldi returns to host ‘Voices’ creative writing competition

01 Nov 23

The actor Peter Capaldi will return to host the eighth edition of Voices, the national creative writing competition for children in care and care leavers.

The hosts of Voices 2024 - Claire Wilden with Peter Capaldi

The competition, sponsored by 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.

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.”

Entries can be submitted online until 17 December 2023. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in early 2024.