Winners Announcement

The Louder Than Words festival in partnership with Northern Gravy, Louder than War, Omnibus Press and the University of Huddersfield are delighted to announce the winners of the 2023 Wilko Johnson Writing Award.

For the 2023 competition we gave the entrants the following provocation:

“When we asked ChatGBT if there was a future for music journalism, it responded: “Yes,
music journalism has a future […] Music journalism continues to play an important role in
shaping public opinions about music, and as long as people continue to listen to music,
there will be a need for journalists to write about it.”

What do you predict for the worlds of music, and music writing, in an age of AI?”

We are delighted to showcase their winning work here:

1st prize – Emma Hughes

Emma Hughes is an international student in her final year at the University of Chester. She is studying English Language with Journalism, and has enjoyed every second of it. Like every living person, she adores writing, words, and music, and is happy to write about anything, anytime, anywhere.

When she’s not staring at words on a page, Emma is either running around with her dog, or fixing air-cooled Volkswagens.



2nd prize – George Orton

I’m George and I’m a musician, writer and artist living in Leeds. Since graduating from UEA’s English Literature course, I’ve started doing marketing for the Thackray Museum of Medicine – the UK’s largest independent medical museum. This has indulged a strange interest in instruments of the surgical nature – not just musical ones! On days where I’m not writing tweets about Victorian dentistry, I play in four different bands: Bug Teeth, Gladboy, Janani.fx and Volk Soup.

Growing up in Essex, Doctor Feelgood were an enduring influence on my life, as well as my initial refusal to use a guitar pick. I’ve never entered a prize before, but I entered this one to honour Wilko Johnson’s name, and for the rare chance to see music writing treated the same as any other form of literature. Thank you to everyone at Louder Than Words, Louder Than War and Northern Gravy for this opportunity.


3rd prize – Kieran Press-Reynolds

A writer and blogger from Brooklyn, Kieran Press-Reynolds covers internet culture as a staff reporter at Insider. He’s written for outlets like Pitchfork, The New York Times, and No Bells, dissecting music and digital phenomena like #corecore and streaming platform misinformation. He loves mapping out SoundCloud microgenres and tracking emerging trends.



Images from Louder Than Words Festival

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