Cambridge Orthopaedic Writing Prize 2014


So you think you can write do you? Well maybe you can but maybe, just maybe, your writing could do with a boost. If so, welcome to the challenge of the Cambridge Orthopaedic Writing Prize open to all grades of orthopaedic trainees from around the world, wherever or whoever you are.

There are three prizes, £1000 to the winner and two runners-up prizes of £100 each.

The idea of the prize is simple. However good a surgeon you may be, however good a scientist you are, the ability to transmit your thoughts and findings to others, in words they can understand, is key. You may be of Nobel prize potential but if you cannot explain yourself on paper, or on screen, at the podium too, then your talents will remain hidden to the world. The founder of this prize, Richard Villar, has spent much of his professional life dealing with the written word. An author of many books and papers, both within orthopaedics and outside, he has also either founded or edited a number of orthopaedic journals, including Bone & Joint 360 and The Bone & Joint Journal. Throughout this time, although many of the submissions he has seen have been written well, many have been - to put it plainly - badly written. Many have been rejected simply because the authors were sadly unable to present their case in a manner that was understandable to all. So the Cambridge Orthopaedic Writing Prize was born. Its aim is to give authors a chance to express themselves in any way they wish. It is to encourage them to play with words, experiment with them, and to present a message about a possibly unfamiliar topic in a way that is enjoyable to read. Remember that reviewers are human, too. They do not want to spend their few spare hours reading papers that are indigestible, ill-considered and badly presented. They want to enjoy what they read and learn from the process as well. The starting point is good writing.

Are you up to the challenge of the Cambridge Orthopaedic Writing Prize? We do hope so. Remember - writing should be fun.

Your topic is 'Healthy living sucks'

Your challenge is to write exactly 1000 words, no more no less, on the topic allocated and to submit your entry no later than the deadline given. Co-authors are not permitted and the piece should be written in UK English. The length does not include the title, your name, or any references you might use.  

You may write in any genre you wish. The judges are not necessarily looking for a scholarly work backed up by literature research. For example, you can write a simple essay, or a piece of fiction, you can submit a poem or even a television script. Submit whatever you like, however you like, but please make it original, exactly the right length and, most importantly, make it interesting and fun to read. You can agree or disagree with the set topic; that is up to you. Your first submission is the one that will be judged and you may only submit one entry and your submission should not be illustrated. Your submission must have a named author, you may write under your own name or a pseudonym although your submission will be anonymised before judging takes place. Meanwhile, the judges reserve the right not to read the whole of a submission if, to put it bluntly, they consider it to be too indigestible. 

Your entry will be assessed on the following by the judging panel:

  1.  Length (1000 words exactly. Anything else will lead to immediate disqualification) 
  2.  Originality 
  3.  Ease of reading 
  4.  Relevance to topic set 
  5.  Use of grammar 
  6.  Use of punctuation 
  7.  Spelling 

Your deadline is: 12 midnight GMT Saturday 31st January 2015

Good luck!

Please note - by submitting your entry you are agreeing that your submission will appear in print/eBook.