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. If you want to receive individual feedback on your entry to the Writing Prize, you’ll want to submit by midnight on Saturday 21st April 2018. The deadline for all final entries is midnight Saturday 19th May 2018.

WHO CAN ENTER?

The Prize is open to anyone aged 13 – 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.

WHAT IS THE THEME?

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 TRUTH VS. LIES.

In his classic novels 1984 and Animal Farm, George Orwell created worlds in which it was impossible to say what is true and what is false: worlds full of misinformation where you could not even be sure of your own reality – and where the fight for truth can be deadly. Remind you of anything?

The Orwell Youth Prize takes its inspiration from George Orwell. Orwell wrote from his own experience, 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.

WHAT SHOULD I WRITE?

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 (you sixth-formers).

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Uniquely, we help our entrants by offering feedback. If you want to receive individual feedback on your entry to the Writing Prize, you’ll want to submit by midnight on Saturday 21st April 2018. You’ll then have the opportunity to resubmit your entry before the final deadline, midnight Saturday 19th May. The final entries will be judged in two categories: Junior, for those in Years 9, 10 and 11 (or equivalent) and Senior for those in years 12 and 13 (or equivalent).

Everyone who is longlisted as an Orwell Youth Prize Finalist is invited to the Celebratory Prize Event at Pembroke College, Oxford in June 2018. 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 (£100 for Senior, £60 for Junior winners).

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.