Ten years of the Wisden Writing Competition

Wisden Cricketers Almanack 2022 appeared a few days later than usual but back to its usual size after last year´s slimmer version. As usual it provides fascinating insights into the game with keen readers spotting the subtle changes but those are for another review!

The Wisden Writing Competition remains, now in its tenth year. A chance for “aspiring” writers to shine with a short essay. The entry level is back down to the normal level with just over 100 entries. Relatively few of the first timers of 2022 tried again. The number of entries from women seems to have fallen.

Congratulations to this year´s winner, Peter Hobday. He gives us a “Proustian Madeline” moment as he opens a long unused bag of his cricket equipment. The smells and touch of gloves, a bat, helmet clothes and other items trigger a Remembrance of Games Past and a wistful thought of a future game.

Mr Hobday´s success is in line with the ten year trends. A first time entrant making it eight out of ten wins for debut competitors.

You can read all the winning entries here.

It´s time for a new records section, the Wisden Writing Competition, the first ten years. Unlike Wisden, accept a possibility of errors in the listings!

Number of entrants: 648

Number of once only entrants 528 (81%)

Most entries: 10 (Paul Caswell, David Fraser, David Potter) 9 (Richard Reardon, Christopher Sharp) 8 (Steve Green, Mark Sanderson, Peter Stone)

Winners on debut entry: 8 (the other two were on their second and fifth entry)

Largest entry 2021 with 193

Smallest entry 2014 (82), 2020 (“more than 80”)

Winners from outside England 1 (USA)

Most popular winning themes Nostalgia of times past 3. memories of specific cricketer 2 , humour 2,

Number of winners mentioning T20 (IPL, Big Bash, Vitality etc) 0

Winning entries looking to future of cricket 0

The competition is open for the 2023 Wisden, closing date is the end of October. A piece full of warmth for the game, a touch of its effect on you, staying clear of controversy. Full details here (under the Photography Competition details which attracts many times more entries!).

Stop press. The runners up are now printed in the Wisden Quarterly magazine The Nightwatchman. 12 are printed is issue 38 and 8 of them are from first time entrants. Yet more evidence that newcomers seem to have a definite advantage. perhaps enter under new names each year?