Dare to dream
SUMMARY: Make your dream into reality by entering the Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize competition
Image courtesy of The Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize 2011.
We all have a dream. For some us, this dream is the shining star that guides our actions, our choices and indeed, our lives. For others, perhaps many others of us, this dream is a tightly-held secret that we rarely think about, as we allow the worries of the world to consume our waking hours. But for those of you whose dream is to write about science, here is a truly sweet opportunity for you to begin transforming your dream into something real: the Wellcome Trust has joined forces with The Guardian and The Observer to hold a science writing competition that is open to the public.
That means you.
You have from yesterday (when the competition was first announced) until 20 May 2011 (the deadline) to write an 800-word essay about a scientific topic of your choice. Please note that this competition is not about technical bells-and-whistles or excellent photography, it’s all about the quality of the actual writing itself: how you describe concepts and express ideas, how you make your audience care about the topic you’ve chosen, how you engage your reader.
There will be five judges, all of whom have a background in science (Wellcome Trust Writing Prize Judge Bios). After reading their bios, you’ll realise that these people are very accomplished in media and television, and most of them make a living at reading about science and choosing which research project to fund. So if you are a writer, or dream of having your words read by some really high-powered people, then this is your chance.
You have 6 weeks to work on your essay; to identify, outline and research your topic, to get input and feedback from your peers and from your targeted audience, and to rework your piece (again and again) until it tells that special story that only you can share with the world.
If you wish to learn more, I encourage you to read Alok Jha’s announcement, and especially read his answers to reader questions in the following comments.
What: Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize 2011 in association with The Guardian and The Observer.
Why: two people will win £1,000 cash prize; the top 30 shortlisted entrants will be invited to a science writing workshop at the Guardian offices in October 2011 (if there’s interest, more may be invited).
Your Task: write an 800-word essay about a scientific topic that is suitable for publication as a feature article in either The Guardian or The Observer. There will be two prizes, one for professional scientists (anyone with a PhD who currently works as a researcher) and another for everyone else (A-level students, people who do not earn most of their income from science writing, such as non-professional science blog writers, etc.).
Deadline: 20 May 2011. Online submission form.
Restrictions: in view of the fact that I have a strongly international audience, perhaps the most important restriction is that you must reside in either the UK or Ireland. Yes, I was bummed out by this, too! [More rules and restrictions]