For anyone aspiring to a career in journalism, winning a writing competition run by a national newspaper is about as good as it gets - and that’s just what one man from Clare has gone and done.
Brendan Sharp, of Stour Green, is now the proud holder of the Independent’s Wyn Harness Prize for young journalists, having seen the article he submitted for the competition make the biggest impression on a panel of judges.
The 22-year-old, who went to Clare Primary and Clare Middle school and then Sudbury Upper, has been ‘doggedly pursuing’ a career in journalism since graduating in English literature from Anglia Ruskin University in 2012.
In his time there he wrote many arts reviews for the independently-owned Cult Media magazine and since graduating has been a regular contributor to Clare Focus.
The feature he wrote for the Independent, which was published in the paper last week, examined the use of self-service checkouts at supermarkets and earned him a £1,000 cheque as part of his prize plus a two-week placement with the paper’s editorial team this summer.
Brendan, who has also been asked to write a counter argument to his prize-winning piece, said: “He (Independent editor, Amol Rajan) didn’t give me a figure for the number of entries but I would imagine it was thousands because it’s quite prestigious.
“There are not that many big journalism competitions which are free. They all seem to have a fee.
“It’s a big deal to me. Winning it and going there are possibly two of the best experiences I’ve had.”
Mr Rajan said of Brendan’s article: “It was notable for two reasons: clarity of argument and aptness of subject.
“The threat to manual workers from automation is a challenge facing all advanced societies.
“He addresses it in a compassionate and cogent way and looks destined for a long and glorious career in journalism.”