One of the most prestigious writing prizes for upcoming UK-based science writers is back. Organised by The Wellcome Trust, in association with the Guardian and The Observer, the Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize 2013 is welcoming entries from non-professional writers until 28 April. And the science writing tips series, a great resource for any upcoming science writer, is also back with new guest posts from experienced science writers.
Similar to previous years’, this year’s competition comprises two categories: professional scientists or postgrads and anybody with a non-professional interest in science. Winners of both categories will have their entries published in either the Guardian or The Observer. Plus, winners pocket a cool £1,000 (? $1,500) each.
Entries should be 800 words long and can be about any area of science. As a general rule, the more enthusiastic you are about what you are writing, the more this will show in your writing, so it might be a good idea to cover something that blows your mind. This eager voice is actually one of the things the judges will be looking for:
“The judges are looking for originality, bright ideas and a clear writing style. Your article should show a passion for science and encourage the general public to consider, question and debate the key issues in science and society.”
Another good tip about writing in general:
“Above all, write simple prose. Don't use baroque phrases, and avoid over-embroidering your story with unnecessary feats of linguistic acrobatics. It's much more important to find a good story to write about than to come up with flowery turns of phrase or stunning metaphors.
Good writing is clear, pithy and accessible. Good writers want to impress readers with the tales they tell; they are not interested in making themselves sound clever with the words they use.”
Be sure to check out shortlisted entries from the previous years as well. Don’t try to copy the styles of those writers but instead figure out how they tell their stories and how they show why their stories matter.
Beside the actual competition, another great thing that comes out of the Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize is the yearly science writing tips series which runs on the Guardian. The series typically pins experienced writers against the wall and ask them to write short posts about science writing in general: how to start writing, how to tackle a science story, etc. The series probably contains at least a hundred posts so it’s well worth checking out even if you're not submitting anything.
In a few bullet points, here’s what you should remember:
- Deadline: 28 April
- Word limit: 800 words
- Topic: anything that’s science
- Online submission page
A few links:
- Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize 2013 main page
- Frequently Asked Questions page
- Who the judges are
- Science writing tips series on the Guardian
- List of shortlisted entries from previous years’ competitions
A cup of tea and a laptop is all you need to enter. Good luck!