The Orwell Youth Prize 2021: Winners

We can now announce the winners of The Orwell Youth Prize 2021: ‘A New Direction: Starting Small’ 

Congratulations to all our winners, and thank you to everyone who took part this year and trusted us with your writing.

By seeking out new audiences for young writing, and reflecting back all our entrants’ collective concerns, we aim to make your priorities part of the national conversation.

You can read each entry, hear from the winners themselves and read responses from writers, journalists and campaigners by clicking on the individual links below. We will also be posting highlights on our social media throughout the afternoon.

Each entry was read by at least two assessors, and the final winners were chosen by the 2021 judges Adam Cantwell-Corn, Naush Sabah, Jessica Johnson, and Dan Bernardo.

Judge Dan Bernardo, founder of Playtra Games, had the following message:


This year, we also asked every entrant to tell us the ‘one positive change’ they would most like to see in their lives. Answers were ‘inventive, bold and optimistic’, seeking to solve issues from racial and gender inequality to climate change.

We will be sharing some of the most original and inventive responses on our blog and social media in the coming days and weeks, as well as interviews with this year’s winning writers, curated by the Orwell Youth Fellows.

‘A New Direction: Starting Small’ is sponsored and supported by ‘Rethinking Poverty: The Webb Legacy‘, and George Orwell’s son Richard Blair. The Orwell Foundation is grateful to every young person, teacher, volunteer, school and community group who got involved, and all our partners and sponsors, for making this year possible.

In 2021 The Orwell Youth Prize received poems, short stories, prose, essays, journalism, screenplays, game designs, speeches – and everything in between. The winners were:

Senior Winners

‘Work Experience as a Young Campaigner’ – Jude Leese (Poetry)

‘The Quiet Revolution’ – Max Baker (Fiction)

‘Two for Joy’ – Isabella Rew (Poetry)

‘New Hair, Who Dis (Dear Mrs Johnson)’ – Faith Falayi (Poetry)

Senior Runners-up

‘Mending the Safety Net’ – Ruby Alexander (Essay)

‘A New Direction: Starting Small’ – Marnie Rauf (Fiction)

‘Notes on Being Black.’ – Laurell Jarrett Anderson (Journalism)

Junior Winners

‘It’s Not Your Fault’ – Katie Sherley (Essay)

‘A New Direction: Starting Small by Creating Norfolk Wetlands‘ – William Walker (Essay)

‘On Keeping a Time Capsule’ – Jennifer Yang (Essay)

‘A Small Thing’ – Anya Edgerton (Screenplay)

Junior Runners-up

‘Equality in Education’ – Marnie McPartland (Journalism)

‘Why?’ – Varscha Arul (Essay)

‘The Voting Booth’ – Charlie Owen (Fiction)

The following pieces were also highly commended: 

Joe Pierce – A Way Out (Junior)

Hannah Bush – Think twice (Junior)

Anouk Wood – How to Fix a Broken Planet: Terrestrial Maintenance for Dummies (Junior)

Tilly Heath – Born The Souls who Settle in the Soles of our Shoes (Junior)

Benjamin Yu – Little Brighton (Senior)

Jamie Chong – Walking Home in a New Direction (Senior)

Nathaniel Tompkins – Explained, but not Understood (Senior)