Orwell Youth Prize Regional Hub at Coventry University

Friday 10 March 2023

10th March 2023, Coventry University 

On Friday 10th March more than 100 school students from across the West Midlands will come together at Coventry University for a unique day of creative writing and journalism workshops inspired by the 2023 Orwell Youth Prize theme of ‘Who’s in Control?

Students will be supported to develop their writing and thinking on the Orwell Youth Prize 2023 theme of ‘Who’s in Control?’ across journalism (broadcast and feature), fiction and poetry.

The day will be one of the first events to take place in the University’s new flagship Faculty of Arts and Humanities building, which is named after electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire and features “immersive studios with the latest virtual reality and mixed reality technologies”.

Born in Coventry in 1937, Derbyshire is best known for her ground-breaking work with the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop and her realisation of the famous Doctor Who theme music. She was awarded a posthumous honorary doctorate by Coventry University in 2017.

Workshops will be led by four local writers and reporters: poet/rapper John Bernard, novelists Helen Cross (author of My Summer of Love), Vicky Gayle, a reporter at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and podcaster Phillippa Guillou.

By the end of the day, students will have explored the theme through one of the four forms and will present a collaborative piece of work to an audience of special guests including George Orwell’s son, Richard Blair and Quentin Kopp, Chair of the Orwell Society.

Everyone who attends will be encouraged to enter this year’s national Orwell Youth Prize writing competition, a unique programme which offers personalized feedback on a first draft to all entrants. All participants will also receive an Orwell goody bag, including a copy of Orwell’s essays, an Orwell pen and bookmark, and posters and flyers for their school.

Students will also have the opportunity to take part in a press conference with Richard Blair and Quentin Kopp, whose father Georges was Orwell’s commander during the Spanish Civil War.

The event is the second of the Orwell Foundation’s 2023 Regional Hub events, a new project supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The event is the result of a partnership between the Foundation and Coventry University and follows on from the Foundation’s first Regional Hub earlier in the year at the University of Sunderland.

About the Orwell Youth Prize

The Orwell Youth Prize is a national writing prize for young people aged 12-18 from across the UK. Far more than just a prize, each year’s theme is inspired by the writings of George Orwell, whilst encouraging young people to think critically and creatively about the world around them and issues which matter today.

The programme is free to enter and participants can submit writing in any form. Alongside its exciting hub events, the Youth Prize also provides free writing resources for individual entrants and teachers. All entrants are also offered personalized feedback on a first draft.

For more information please contact The Orwell Youth Prize coordinator Tabby Hayward.