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Student hack scoops top honours

23 Nov 2007

A University of Manchester undergraduate has been voted the Guardian's student sports writer of the year.

Matthew Nixon from Hartlepool scooped the coveted title after impressing judges Mihir Bose - the BBC's Sports Editor, Daily Mail Chief Sports Writer Paul Hayward and Guardian Sports Editor Ben Clissitt.

According to Hayward, sports-mad Matthew was 'streets ahead' of the three other short-listed entrants chosen from across the country.

Matthew, who is taking a BA in English Literature, submitted feature articles written for Manchester's student newspaper Student Direct.

His articles tackled the thorny issues of charity in sport, put up a case for defending footballers wages and reported from the Caribbean where he watched the Cricket World Cup.

The Hartlepool United fan launched his career in sports journalism at his local paper the Hartlepool Mail where he completed a week's work experience at the age of 15.

And now he hopes to fulfill his lifelong ambition of working as a national newspaper reporter.

He said: "I've always wanted to be a journalist, so to achieve this level of success has been incredible.

"It brings me one step closer to fulfilling my ambition of writing for a national newspaper- though maybe broadcasting would be an attractive option as well.

"And it's thrilling to follow in the footsteps of such illustrious names as Andrew Rawnsley, Jonathan Freedland, Emily Barr and Mark Frith who are previous winners."

He added: "I am a particular fan of rugby but enjoy all sport - as a spectator and participant.

"So writing about this as a journalist is for me a fantastic opportunity to fulfill my passion."

As part of the degree, he is taught by novelist MJ Hyland at the University's Centre for New Writing.

The 2006 Man Booker Prize short-listed author, Hyland said: "Both his intelligence and talent were obvious from the first meeting.

"Matthew's a great pleasure to teach and an utterly deserving winner."

Notes for editors

Matthew Nixon is available for interview

For more details contact:
Mike Addelman
Media Relations Officer
Faculty of Humanities
The University of Manchester
0161 275 0790
07717 881 567