About the 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 2019 is now open, and this year’s theme is ‘A Fair Society?’. Subscribe to our mailing list for the latest updates!


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. This year’s theme is ‘A Fair Society?’, previous themes have included ‘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.

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 9-11) and 1500 in the senior category (sixth-formers).


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 in our FAQs. And if you can’t find the answer there, don’t hesitate to get in touch! Also, don’t forget to read the rules.