Far more than just a prize, The Orwell Youth Prize is an annual free, writing programme for young people in school years 7-13, in the UK or studying from a British Curriculum abroad.

Each year, we set a theme inspired by the writings of George Orwell, to encourage young people to think and write critically and creatively about the world around them and issues that matter today. Entrants don’t need to write about Orwell, have read one of his books or know his biography in order to enter – but we set prompts and create free resources using extracts, quotes and ideas from his works.

Above all, we encourage young writers today to write in Orwell’s spirit – to write about something which matters to them and which they want to draw to the attention of others, in a way which is clear, concise and compelling for an audience.

We actively encourage submissions in all forms of writing, including hybrid and experimental forms, from short stories to screenplays, essays and poems to video game designs.

Our unique model

Now in its tenth year, the Prize remains unique in its offer of personalised feedback on a draft entry for everyone who enters. Our volunteer readers come to us from the worlds of publishing, academia, the civil service and the arts, and include professional poets, novelists and academics. Feedback is provided anonymously on a first draft, and returned to the entrant with plenty of time for them to make any changes and resubmit before our final deadline.

We want to encourage all young people, regardless of social background or postcode, to write creatively and critically about the world around them, developing skills in writing and redrafting, and building confidence in sharing their ideas.

Shortlisted entrants are invited to a special Celebration Day at University College London, to take part in writing workshops and share their shortlisted work. They are also presented with certificates and Orwell goodies. Our winners and runners up are published on our website and invited to join our Orwell Youth Fellows programme, and winners also receive a cash prize of £50 and the complete works of Orwell for themselves and their school!