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Hollywood journalist Lisa Marks poses as a prize for aspiring young writers Posted On 26 February 2021

Secondary school pupils from the Leigh, Canvey and Rayleigh areas will be able to revel in excitement at an upcoming writing competition, being launched by the Leigh Times Series


Back in the 1980s, Hollywood journalist Lisa Marks conducted her work experience at the Leigh Times, before she made it big in Hollywood writing celebrity features for a number of A-list stars. Today, she’s back in the UK teaching university students, alongside writing for various national magazines.

Mark’s new book, ’Ryan is Ready For You Now…’, topped the Amazon’s Pop Culture best sellers list on the first day of pre-orders. The book is essentially a memoir of the writer’s career in celebrity journalism, which spans thirty years, covering the entertainment industry in the UK and Hollywood.

Lisa has said: “The pandemic may have disrupted all our lives, but it shouldn’t derail your dreams. Many years ago, when I was studying for my A-levels at Southend High School for Girls Sixth Form, I wanted to be a journalist. I was shy, but quietly determined and at that point I’d already done work experience at the Leigh Times, Evening Echo and Essex Radio.

“In fact, my week’s work experience at the Leigh Times in 1984 was the first time I’d ever stepped inside a newsroom – and I was hooked! Years later I found myself working in London and then Hollywood, interviewing some of the biggest names in showbiz including Ryan Gosling, Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig and Jennifer Aniston. I’ve written for the Guardian, Scotsman, Mirror, Independent, Marie Claire, Red, OK!, the Sydney Herald and Grazia to name a few.

“You can read about my career in my journalism memoir ‘Ryan is Ready For You Now…’, which has been described as ‘vital background reading’ for aspiring journos. These days when I lecture at various universities I tell my students to dream big. These are challenging times, but if you’re interested in a career in media, I’d like to help.”

To the competition winner, Lisa added: “I’ll answer your questions and help you take the first steps. Good luck!”

The winner of the competition will receive a signed copy of Lisa Mark’s new book, ‘Ryan is Ready For You Now…,’ as well as an hour-long mentoring session with the writer. The two runner-ups will also be presented with signed copies of Lisa’s book.

In order to enter, all you need to do is follow the brief of two questions and a task below, as well as include your contact details, a photograph of yourself smiling, and ensure you have your parent’s or guardian’s permission to do so.

Who would be your dream interviewee and why?

What are the first three questions you’d ask them?

Write an intro to the interview. This should be no more than 200 words telling the reader who this person is.

Entries should be sent to editor@leightimes.co.uk, or posted to Editor, The Leigh Times Series, 106 Broadway, Leigh, Essex SS9 1AB by April 27th.

The winner will be announced on May 4th, both online and in print. The Editors decision will be final.

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