Celebration Day

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.

Over 120 students were in attendance at the 2018 Celebration Day 29th of June.

All students participated in morning workshops with professional writers who shared their tips and insights into fields as diverse as investigative journalism, novel writing and poetry.











This years guest writers were:

  • Jamie Bartlett, best-selling author of People Vs. Tech: How the internet is killing democracy (and how we save it), The Dark Net, and Radicals: Outsiders Changing the World, and Director of the Centre of the Analysis of Social media at the think-tank Demos
  • Delia Jarrett-Macauley, author, broadcaster and academic who won the Orwell Prize in 2005 for her novel Moses, Citizen & Me
  • James Ball, award-winning journalist and author who was part of the Guardian team that won a Pulitzer prize for investigative journalism, and has worked for numerous national and international news outlets including Buzzfeed, Al Jazeera, the Guardian UK and US, The Washington Post and ITN, and
  • Pat Winslow, award-winning poet and social activist whose collections include Kissing Bones, Unpredictable Geometry and Dreaming of Walls Repeating Themselves










After a panel discussion among the guest writers chaired by our compere and host, TV presenter Rick Edwards, students were broken up into teams and asked to formulate responses to the debate question: has the internet done more harm than good for young people? There were some fabulous points raised on both sides by the representatives of each group, though the outcome of the final vote was a fiercely optimistic ‘No!’











In the afternoon, Rachel Goode from The Oxford University Press and Richard Blair, son of George Orwell, presented prizes to the winners and runners up. We heard extracts from the winning entries, and the authors were interviewed by Rick Edwards.











A huge thankyou to everyone who came and made the Celebration Day so inspiring and energizing. We hope to see you again next year!

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.