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.
WHO MAY ENTER?
The Prize is open to anyone aged 14 – 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.
If you are a previous winner of the Orwell Youth Prize, you may enter again, but you may not enter the same category. For example, if you are a Junior winner, you may enter the Senior category but not the Junior category.
WHAT SHOULD I WRITE ABOUT?
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 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?
We will be posting more inspiration and resources around this year’s theme on the website in the coming months. Look out!
HOW 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).
The Writing Prize will open for entries on 1st December 2017. The final deadline is midnight Saturday 19th May 2018.
We’ll also be holding our annual Celebration Day at Pembroke College, Oxford in June 2018, with a guaranteed place for all longlisted entrants to the Writing Prize.
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. See the online entry form, which will be open on our website from 1st December.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE ENTRIES?
The entries will be judged in two categories:
The Orwell Youth Prize for those in years 9, 10 and 11 (or equivalent)
The Orwell Youth Prize for those in years 12 and 13 (or equivalent)
HOW MANY WINNERS WILL THERE BE?
- Up to 20 shortlisted entries: Orwell Youth Prize Finalists
- Up to 5 Orwell Youth Prize Winners in each category
WHAT DO I WIN?
Everyone who is longlist 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 of the above AND:
- ALL George Orwell’s novels and full-length non-fiction works, as well as a selection of essays
Vidya Ramesh, one of the 2015 winners in the Years 12 and 13 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. I must thank the Orwell Youth Prize for presenting those awarded with a day’s work experience at the offices of The Guardian. The day was conducted by Stephen Armstrong, journalist and author of the acclaimed The Road to Wigan Pier Revisited. It was a valuable opportunity to learn from Stephen’s expertise, as well as to practise writing at the hot-desk. Sifting through breaking news updates to devise a piece within a thirty minute deadline was an absorbing experience – it propelled me out of my comfort zone to write about the unfamiliar”
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch!