Who’s in control? Sunderland students to take part in new Orwell Youth Prize Regional Hub

Thursday 26 January 2023

This Friday the 27th January, one hundred school students from across Darlington, Durham and Sunderland will arrive at the University of Sunderland for a day of creative writing and critical thinking workshops inspired by the 2023 Orwell Youth Prize theme: ‘Who’s in Control?’

The event is the first of our 2023 Regional Hub events, a new project supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The Sunderland Hub is the result of a partnership between the Foundation and the University.

By the end of the day, students will have explored the theme in their assigned creative form, and will present a piece of creative work to an audience of special guests, including George Orwell’s son, Richard Blair; Quentin Kopp, Chair of the Orwell Society; local writers Mary Talbot and Iain Rowan; Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central; Michael Dixon, Councillor for St Michael’s Ward; and Reverend Chris Howson, Sunderland University Chaplain.

Students will be supported to develop their writing and thinking on the Orwell Youth Prize 2023 theme of ‘Who’s in Control?’ across one of the four areas of scriptwriting, journalism, flash fiction and game design (all of which are eligible for The Orwell Youth Prize).

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, and be encouraged to enter this year’s national Orwell Youth Prize writing competition.

Also on Friday, Richard Blair and Quentin Kopp, together with Professor Angela Smith, Deputy Vice Chancellor Michael Young, and Orwell Foundation staff will attend the unveiling of a blue plaque to Eileen O’Shaughnessy, Orwell’s first wife, who grew up in Sunderland. Eileen is also featured in the Rebel Women of Sunderland project, celebrating the diversity of achievements of women from Sunderland.

About The Orwell Youth Prize

The Orwell Youth Prize is a political writing prize for young people aged 12-18 from across the UK. The Prize is free to enter, participants can submit writing in any form, and all entrants are offered personalized feedback on a first draft. 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.

For more information and images please contact Tabby Hayward.