About the Writing Prize

The Orwell Youth Prize uses the writing of George Orwell as a starting point to inspire you to write about your own ideas and experiences, thinking about the world you live in. Uniquely, we help our entrants by offering feedback.

The Orwell Youth Prize 2020 theme is ‘The Future We Want’. Subscribe to our mailing list or follow us on social media for the latest updates! The 2020 Orwell Youth Prize is now closed. The winners will be announced the week of the 27th July. Final date TBC.



The Prize is open to anyone aged 12 – 18 who is at school or college, from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. You don’t need to have participated in an Orwell Youth Prize Workshop to enter.


Every year, the Youth Prize takes a theme from Orwell’s work to inspire your responses to the world around you. The 2020 theme is ‘The Future We Want’,  previous themes have included ‘A Fair Society?’, ‘Identity’ and ‘Truth vs. Lies’.

The Orwell Youth Prize takes its inspiration from George Orwell. Orwell wrote from his own experiences, and observed the social injustices and political happenings of the world around him. He also wrote in language that was clear, concise and compelling for his audience.

Our resources and reading lists explore the different ways you might approach the theme and suggest where you might go to learn more.

We encourage you to follow George Orwell’s example: write about something that matters to you, and that you want to draw to the attention of others.


You can write in any form you like: journalism, essays, short stories, blog posts, poems and even plays are all welcome. We want to hear what you’ve got to say! The word limit is 1000 for the junior category (if you’re in Years 7-11) and 1500 in the senior category (sixth-formers).


  • Have your work published and recognised by your peers and professionals
  • Win a cash prize
  • Win books for yourself and your school (winners receive all of Orwell’s work, runners up Orwell’s Essays)


Uniquely, we help our entrants by offering feedback on a first draft.

Everyone who is longlisted as an Orwell Youth Prize Finalist is invited to the Celebratory Prize Event at Pembroke College, Oxford in the summer. Orwell Youth Prize Winners receive ALL George Orwell’s novels and full-length non-fiction works, as well as a selection of essays and a cash prize.

Vidya Ramesh, one of the 2015 winners in the Senior category, had this to say about her experience:

“Entering the Orwell Youth Prize, receiving helpful feedback and incisive critique from the judges, and of course the Celebration Day itself, has given me the confidence to seriously pursue writing as a possible career.”

If you have any questions take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions. And if you can’t find the answer there, don’t hesitate to get in touch! Also, don’t forget to read the rules.