The Wyn Harness Prize for Young Journalists

The Independent on Sunday is pleased to invite applications for the annual Wyn Harness Prize for Young Journalists, following the third anniversary of the death of Wyngate Harness, assistant editor of our sister paper, The Independent, and one of the most important and best-loved figures in the newspaper's history

For more than 20 years, Wyn was a huge influence on
The Independent. He cared deeply about the quality of writing and reporting in its pages, and how these were presented to the world. He was a guide and mentor to dozens of young journalists who began their national newspaper careers in its newsroom, many of whom went on to reach the top of the profession. His death from an inoperable brain tumour, at the age of 47, was a huge shock to his colleagues and friends on the paper, and he continues to be much missed by those who worked with him. Everyone who knew Wyn appreciated his dry, irreverent wit and his affection for the quirkier and more bizarre aspects of British life. And it is this that inspired the format of the Wyn Harness Prize for Young Journalists.

The competition is open to anyone aged 25 or under who is embarking on a career in newspaper journalism, either in training or in their first paid employment. To take part, candidates must write a news report of between 500 and 700 words about an aspect of Britain or British society that rarely makes the headlines. The judges will be looking for a subject that is unusual and eye-opening. Entries must be accurate, well researched, and stylishly written.

The winner will receive a cash bursary of £1,000. They will have their story published in The Independent, and they will be offered a two-week work placement in the paper's London newsroom.

RULES...

Eligibility The prize is open to young journalists of any nationality who will be under the age of 26 on 31 December 2010.

Submission of entries Entries should be emailed to features@independent.co.uk by midnight on 6 December 2010.

Selection and notification The judging panel will include Sue Royal (Wyn Harness's widow, also a journalist), Simon Kelner (editor-in-chief of The Independent), Helen Boaden (director of BBC News, and friend of Wyn Harness), and national newspaper journalists Martyn Palmer and Jason Burt. The winner will be notified by email before 31 December.

For general terms and conditions see www.independent.co.uk/legal

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<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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