Example Workshop

Orwell Youth Prize Workshop Pairs 2016 – 2017

Example timetable: based on default text, ‘Such, Such Were the Joys’

Workshop 1

5 mins



 Welcome and introductions to MC, Writer and OYP
MC very briefly introduces the ‘Identity’ theme of the Prize and the day format.

‘How we work together’: a quick refresher on respect for diverse opinions etc.

Students are pre-seated at tables that mix up groups – or schools, if applicable.

10 mins



Ice Breaker: If I Were …
Fast moving activity to help students find their voice in the space, e.g. ‘If I were an animal I’d be a … because …’

‘If I were a household appliance/football team/vehicle/item of clothing/TV programme, I’d be a … because …’

Each student strikes a pose to represent the thing – and some are asked to explain.

30 mins


Writer Such, such are the joys … of writing
Writer introduces themself and their work, with a short talk and some text or PowerPoint. Students prepare questions in pairs to put to the writer, on matters such as life, career, making a living, getting a hearing.
15 mins


30 mins


Orwell text – ‘Such, Such Were the Joys’
Students read an extract from Orwell’s memoir about schooldays and articulate what they love and hate about school in C21, through dramatic group work: a set of tableaus, in which each character can deliver a short monologue when tapped. The Writer does their own short piece of writing. We see performed as many as time allows, including the Writer’s piece.
20 mins


Journalist or writer: Finding my voice – or my voice finding me
Investigating ‘voice’ with the help of the guest writer who exemplifies their own voice in one/two piece(s) and contrasts that voice with another.  Students in pairs change the ‘voice’ of a paragraph by editing a few words; three or four pairs present the outcome.
10 mins


Playing with Voices: Alter Your Ego preparation
MC gives out secret ‘identities’ – these are not shared with anyone – and each student is asked to come back from lunch with a 100-200 word first-person monologue. Topic is whatever they want but default is ‘My Perfect Day’. Rule: it must not sound like you!
60 mins


Lunch (a movable feast, according to timetabling and relocation of staff/students)
During lunch, MC, writer and school staff are on hand to discuss ‘Identities’ task and initial ideas for writing for the Prize. (Students will need to come to Workshop Two with at least one part-developed idea and perhaps options.)


After lunch students on each table move so as to vary the groups.

note: after lunch students will benefit from access to a computer room

20 mins Playing with voices:  Alter Your Ego performance
In groups of three, students deliver their monologues to one another, and they guess/discuss the identity of each. One from each group of three is shared with the entire group.
30 mins Finding your voice
MC reintroduces the ‘Identity’ theme of the Prize and reads/projects some Orwell quotes, from his fiction and about real/autobiographical experiences;

MC explains formats and gives out bookmarks. Students have a first go at writing in their own voice. Default: ‘Three Things that Make Me Cry’.

10 mins Closing
Listening to volunteers, with comments – especially from Writer – on potential development of each piece while Feedback Sheets are filled in.



Workshop 2
5 mins


 Welcome back, Refresher and second stimulus
(Students will need to come to Workshop Two with at least one part-developed idea and perhaps other options.)
25 mins


Identities: the Good, the Bad and … the Interesting
Students PMI (‘Plus, Minus, Interesting’ exercise) on various identities from LIST by MC


Creative writing: Freaky Friday

Students choose one of the identities and imagine the following:

‘I’d like to be … because …’


And then:

‘ … but only for a day, because …’

Students read aloud a partner’s best bit.

30 mins What is Identity?  Malala and Me
Text: I Am Malala extract (the day of her shooting)

Group work on two aspects:

What is Malala’s identity?

Does she control her identity – or does her identity control her?


Individual work on two aspects:

What are the defining aspects of your identity?

What are the liberations, limitations and traps of identity?

Focus on identity, labels; who creates your identity; whether you can choose it. Think about what you know because of who you are, but also what you don’t know or can’t know because of who you are.

15 mins


30 mins Identity and  Material Realities
Text: Orwell, ‘How the poor die’ extract


Are you nothing when you have nothing?  Is identity for people with money and time?

15 mins Identity and Me: your own writing
Review of existing writing from Workshop 1 and In-School Development:

Students consider whether and how to progress the work


note: students will need IT access

60 mins


Lunch (a movable feast, according to timetabling and relocation of staff/students)
During lunch, MC, writer and school staff are on hand to discuss development of initial ideas or new ideas for writing for the Prize.



Students are supervised and assisted by MC and teaching staff as they work on own pieces for Prize
Plenary, reminders of Prize and feedback sheets (No. 2) filled in