The Martin Wills Annual Writing Awards is a competition established in 1992 to commemorate the life of Martin Wills, journalist and amateur jockey, who died that year, aged 39. It promotes creative writing (fact or fiction) centered on a horseracing theme and is open to people residing in both Ireland and the UK. Tom Cantillon (Poetry) had already won the under 15s category back in 2010 before he entered again this year and again he was successful – this time as an under 19. Tom was presented with his award and a cheque for £500 at The Rowley Mile racecourse in Newmarket on the 17th of April. His essay, entitled ‘Salicional’, is the story of a scary midnight encounter with the spectre of the last of the McCarthy dynasty, Peter, and his favourite horse Salicional, from whom Peter had fallen to his death.
Regular readers of The Clongownian will not be surprised at Tom’s latest success as he has both form and pedigree in the area. He won the Third Line English Medal for creative writing in his first and second years in Clongowes and followed that with the Intermediate English Medal in his third year and again in his fourth. Of relevance to his current success is that Tom’s family is involved in thoroughbred breeding and racing in Johnstown, near Naas, Co. Kildare.
The judging panel was chaired by Brough Scott, three times Sports Feature Writer of the Year and author of Henry Cecil, Trainer of Genius, and included doyen of the Clongowes Parents’ Association, Leo Powell, who is in his 10th year as Editor of The Irish Field. The winning articles will be published, in the next few weeks, in the Racing Post and The Irish Field. In the meantime the may be read online at: http://www.willswritingawards.