Your time to shine — enter the 2018 Plain English Awards

Have you heard? The WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust is on the hunt for New Zealand’s best communications in this year’s 13th annual Plain English Awards. Entries are open until the end of August.

And if you’ve seen an example of unclear communication that makes you scratch your head… well, you’ll find a category for that too: the infamous Brainstrain Award.

Need more motivation to enter? Read the stories from some of last year’s winners:

Four people holding giant cheque

Last year’s Plain English Champion — Best Organisation winners Hannah Morgan-Stone, left, William Meldrum, second from right, and Jerome Chapman, from Utilities Disputes, with Write CEO Lynda Harris. Photo by A Beautiful Photo.

Improving the lives of everyday Kiwis, one communication at a time

The annual Plain English Awards aim to improve the lives of everyday New Zealanders by raising the bar for clear communication. The Awards increase people’s awareness of their democratic right to clear and easy-to-understand communications from government and private-sector organisations.

Most of all, the Awards celebrate the people and organisations that make plain English a priority.

People writing in plain English are showing respect for their readers, says chair of the WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust, Gregory Fortuin.

‘Think of people caught in an emergency trying to get fast help from their insurer. We don’t want their problems to get worse while they battle an incomprehensible claim form. We want them to know what they have to do straight away, and ultimately for their situation to be solved as quickly as possible.

‘The same goes for patients trying to understand treatments, investors trying to understand their options, new immigrants trying to set up their life in New Zealand. Everyone has the right to quickly understand what’s written for them.’

What are the principles of plain English?

Plain English is a style of writing that addresses the needs of the reader. It’s clear and straightforward, cutting out any excess or ambiguous words. Plain English is so clear, in fact, that the reader should be able to take in the writer’s main message in one reading.

In evaluating the Awards entries, the panel of international judges will be looking for the following qualities.

You’re sure to find a category just for you!

The Plain English Awards have 13 categories. Any individual or organisation, in either the public or the private sector, can enter the first 11 categories. These categories are:

The entry fee for the categories above is $120 + GST or $65 + GST if you’re a registered charity.

The two ‘People’s Choice’ categories are open to anyone who feels compelled to enter a document they think is excellent or awful.

Entries in these categories are free and anonymous.


Write Limited has proudly sponsored the Plain English Awards since our CE Lynda Harris established the Awards 13 years ago. As New Zealand’s premier plain language consultancy, we believe in the social, ethical, and financial benefits that come from communicating in plain language. We help our clients to form better relationships with their own clients and stakeholders.

Supporting the Awards fits perfectly with our business values. That’s why we’re a proud sponsor of the Plain English Awards.

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