Celebration Day

Registrations for this year’s Celebration Day on the 29th of June, 11am – 5pm are now open for entrants. Contact admin@orwellyouthprize.co.uk if you haven’t already received your invitation!

Each year we hold a Celebration Day at Pembroke College Oxford, where entrants from across the country come together for a series of seminars, debates and talks featuring guest writers and public figures, as well lunch in the dining hall.

The day will close with the presentation of prizes to the winners and runners up of this year’s Orwell Youth Prize; but with over 100 students in attendance, the Celebration Day isn’t just for those receiving prizes.

All students will participate in morning workshops with professional writers who will share their tips and insights into fields as diverse as investigative journalism, novel writing and poetry. After lunch in the Pembroke college dining hall, students will be broken up into teams and asked to formulate responses to a debate question. This year, we’ll be exploring the question: Should young people under the age of 18 have unrestricted access to the internet? 

Writer and broadcaster Rick Edwards will be joining us again this year as our compere and host. And we’re excited to announce 3 of the 4 professional writers who will be hosting workshops at the 2018 Celebration Day:


Jamie Bartlett knows the internet in all its wonderful and ghastly complexity: from the online spaces where we’re monitored relentlessly, to the hidden corners where everyone’s anonymous. His best-selling books include People Vs. Tech: How the internet is killing democracy (and how we save it), The Dark Net, and Radicals: Outsiders Changing the World. As the Director of the Centre of the Analysis of Social media at the think-tank Demos, he’s keeping careful tabs on the ‘Big Brothers’ of today’s world, and working to figure out ways that we might be empowered to take back control of our data. He writes frequently on tech for The Spectator, The Guardian, The Telegraph, and The Sunday Times, among others. In 2017, he presented the two-part BBC TWO documentary series The Secrets of Silicon Valley in 2017.



James Ball is an award-winning journalist and author who knows that debunking fake news is no easy job. As the former Guardian special projects editor, he was part of the team that won a prestigious Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism. After working on the Iraq War documents leak for Wikileaks U.K., he wrote a book about his days there called Wikileaks: News in the Networked Era. He’s worked for a whole array of national and international news outlets including Buzzfeed, Al Jazeera, the Guardian UK and US, The Washington Post and ITN. His most recent book Post-Truth investigates the link between money and fake news, and suggests ways in which we can all learn not to be passive consumers of lies.



Delia Jarrett-Macauley has done it all: she’s an accomplished writer, broadcaster and academic with a career spanning over 25 years. Winner of the Orwell Prize in 2005 and the youngest daughter of Sierra-Leonean parents, her most recent novel Moses, Citizen & Me is set between London and Sierra Leone and features an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet staged by child soldiers. Delia devised and produced shows on BBC Radio 3 and 4 including ‘The Una Marson Story’ and ‘Black Women Writers in 1930s England’. She has also contributed to Women’s Hour and Open Book. As an academic, her research covers history, literature and cultural politics. She is the Chair of the Caine Prize for African Writing.



Pat worked for twelve years in the theatre before becoming a writer. Primarily a poet, she has had seven collections published, most recently Kissing Bones, Unpredictable Geometry and Dreaming of Walls Repeating Themselves, all with Templar Poetry. She has won several major poetry competitions. Her short fiction has won awards and also appeared in journals and anthologies. Pat’s poetry has been described as possessing a “dark mischief” and language that “balances on the tightrope stretching between past and future”. Pat straddles art and politics in her own career and understands that writing can be a powerful tool for tackling social inequality.
You can read Pat Winslow’s poem The Contract here.


How do I register to attend? 

Everyone who has entered the prize is eligible to attend (there is no longlist for The Orwell Youth Prize) and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. If you have submitted an entry to the prize this year and have not yet received your invitation by email, please contact admin@orwellyouthprize.co.uk

If you would like to join us, please download your consent form here and email it back to admin@orwellyouthprize.co.uk by Sunday the 17th of June, 2018.


The Youth Prize also reserve places for school groups, with priority given to those schools who have received an Orwell Youth Prize workshop this year. Students attending as part of a school group do not need to register individually. If you are a teacher and would like to discuss bringing a school group to the day, please contact admin@orwellyouthprize.co.uk.

The Celebration Day for the Orwell Youth Prize 2017 was held on Monday 26th June 2017. Our guest writers were Arifa Akbar, Jacob Sam-La Rose, Orwell Fellow Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi and Adrian Tempany (whose book And Now the Sun Shines was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2017). The day also featured a lively, passionate special election manifesto debate, directed by Andrew Mycock, which resulted in a win for the newly formed ‘Rise’ party. Broadcaster and writer Rick Edwards was our compere and host for the Prize Ceremony and election debate.