Student Football Writer Award winners honoured

We at the FWA were delighted to present our inaugural Student Football Writer award winners Ella Graunia Cook and Jacob Tanswell with their prizes in person this week.

FWA Chair Carrie Brown hosted a lunch at the Soho Townhouse on Tuesday Oct 6 at which Ella and Jacob were presented with their trophies, respectively the Vikki Orvice award and the Hugh McIlvanney award, named in honour of two of our most prominent late members.

Ian Ridley, who was married to Vikki, presented Ella with her award, and Hugh’s widow Caroline presented Jacob with his trophy.  Also in attendance were the Telegraph’s Jim White, who oversaw the award on behalf of the FWA, our executive secretary Paul McCarthy and FWA media manager Gerry Cox.

The two winners, who came first in a field of 536 entries, also each received the five shortlisted titles in our latest Football Book of the Year, free membership of the FWA and a cheque for £500.

Jacob is now working for Reach as AFC Bournemouth correspondent for Dorset Live, and Ella is working as a content writer, having graduated from Roehampton with a First-Class Honours degree in Creative Writing.

Ella said: “When I found out I’d won the Vikki Orvice Student Football Writer of the Year award, it was a pivotal moment for me. After a year of uncertainty, in which football had played such a big part in keeping me sane, it ignited my excitement for the future and re-affirmed that writing was really what I wanted to do with my life.

“I was particularly proud when hearing professional sports journalists speak about why they liked my work. It got rid of any remnants of imposter syndrome I felt about being a ‘proper fan’ and instead left me gratified that my emotional connection to the game shone through. It was a privilege hearing Ian’s feedback and the way he felt Vikki would have received my piece.

“Since receiving the award, I have graduated from Roehampton with a First Class Honours in Creative Writing. Our ceremony was delayed until September but it was well worth the wait as I got the chance to walk across the stage with my daughter Isabel by my side.

“I’ve also dived into full-time work as a Content Writer because it allows me to fit  around her school hours. However, I’m looking into getting a Masters and have been tempted by courses focused on Football Communications, Digital Marketing and Journalism.

“I’m very pleased to be back watching Sunday League and as Isabel grows up, I can’t wait to travel further afield with her to see sports. She already shows remarkable concentration when watching Man United on TV and her grandad is pleased that the love of football has endured.

“I’m very excited by the idea of reading future entries for this wonderful competition. It certainly gave me the push I needed to have my say on football and got rid of any lingering self-consciousness I felt as a female sports writer. If you’re thinking of giving it a go next year, don’t hesitate. We should all take the chance to walk down the path that Vikki paved for us, establishing women’s right to write about sport.”

Jacob said: “Congratulations to Ella Graunia Cook for receiving the Vikki Orvice award, a worthy winner. I feel incredibly honoured to have been presented with the Hugh McIIvanney award from his wife, Caroline. Thank you to everyone associated with the FWA, including the voting panel, for their continued support, advice and organising such a great event.

“Since winning the award in May, I’ve been fortunate enough to have received interest and offers from a number of outlets, largely due to the high esteem Hugh and the award are held in. In July, I began working for Reach plc as the full time AFC Bournemouth correspondent, leading the sports coverage on their new regional title, Dorset Live.

“The FWA has provided a perfect springboard for my career in the industry, which I fully intend to continue using in the future.”

More details, and the winning entries, can be seen here:

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