Young People's Zone

Voices 2017 winners announced!

Discover the winners of Voices 2017.

The Voices 2017 winners were announced at an inspiring ceremony attended by the shortlisted entrants and hosted by actor and Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi.

The theme was ‘New Beginnings’ and the panel of judges praised the young writers on the powerful and creative ways they expressed the changes and opportunities they’ve experienced in their lives.

Peter Capaldi said: “It was an honour to host the Voices 2017 awards ceremony. Every young person who entered the competition expressed in words their thoughts, memories and emotions, and their moving entries gave powerful insights into their lives and experiences of the care system. Their creativity, talent and resilience shine through.”


The Voices 2017 winners


Primary School Winner – My First Match by J, age 9

Authors Jenny Molloy and Keren David, judges of the Primary School category said: “We liked the way the writer conveyed feelings of empowerment and optimism through the very active description of a football match, and the clever way they drew parallels between different ways of being a supporter.” 

Secondary School Winner - The Gentle Breeze by J, age 17

Judges Alex Wheatle, winner of the 2016 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, and Luke Stevenson, Children’s Social Care Journalist for Community Care said this piece was an “extraordinary powerful first-person account” which “took the simplest approach of the entries we read, but still stood out as being very maturely written in a way that put us in the writer’s shoes.”

Care Leavers Winner – I Know What It’s Like to Be a Butterfly by N, age 24

Judges Jackie Long, Social Affairs Editor for Channel 4 News and Paolo Hewitt, journalist and author of ‘The Looked After Kid’, said: “This incredibly strong and sophisticated piece of writing illustrated very clearly the strength it can sometimes take just to get through life - particularly a life which has thrown up so many challenges. It perfectly reflected how complicated life is and how the butterfly is a beautiful symbol of fragility, but also of resilience.”

Special Award for Migrant Child in Care or Care Leaver – When a Door Closes, a Better Door Opens by J, age 18

Nikesh Shukla, writer and editor of The Good Immigrant and Siti Aisah Haryani, a member of Coram’s new Young Citizens Programme for migrant young people judged this year’s special award and said: “This was an excellent piece of storytelling moving through the challenges of a traumatic childhood, struggling to build a different, better life. Part poetry, part prose, you could really hear the writer's voice coming through.”

Each Voices 2017 winner received £100 shopping vouchers and a Tablet, kindly donated by Pearson’s Publishing, second place runners-up received £50 shopping vouchers and third place runners-up received £25 shopping vouchers.

Voices 2017 was the second time we have run the writing competition. The first was in 2016.


Read the winning and shortlisted entries


The winners:

Download Voices 2017 winning entries here

Download Voices 2016 winning entries here

Shortlisted entries:

All the shortlisted entries from Voices 2017 and Voices 2016 will be showcased in a new app. Coram Voice has teamed up with educational publisher Pearson Publishing to launch Creative Voices, a free app featuring an anthology of writing by children in care. As well as Voices entries, the app will include shortlisted entries from Pearson Publishing’s ‘CreativeMe’ writing competition, which ran in partnership with virtual schools for looked after children.

The app will be available for smartphones and tablets on Google Play and the App Store. Please visit

The Voices 2017 awards ceremony


View our image gallery of pictures from the Voices 2017 awards ceremony attended by the shortlisted entrants and hosted by actor and Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi.


Useful links


Find out more about our annual national writing competiton Voices

Feel inspired? Find out how to enter Voices 2018