The Orwell Youth Fellows is a project in progress. Currently, the Fellows encompass winners and runners up from the 2020 Youth Prize. Together, the group are forming ideas, starting conversations and developing writing that is responsive to the society we are living in and that supports engagement with the prize and the 2021 theme ‘A New Direction: Starting Small’.
Mya Basiime is a 16-year-old student, studying English Literature, Economics, Spanish and History. She is deeply motivated by the prospect of an equitable and fairer society and the structural inequalities which continually pervade society – a topic she explored in her essay ‘What he left me with’. She looks to writing as a source of motivation and a form of catharsis, hoping to use language as a tool of compassion.
Mya is currently reading The Guest List and the works of Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie.
Helen is a 16 year old student and was a junior winner for the Orwell Youth Prize in 2020 for her poem “To The Boy Considered My Equal” which talks about the everyday sexism young girls go through in their lives. She is interested in the systemic oppression that many everyday people face and how literature and writing can make a difference in the world. She is currently reading Animal by Sara Pascoe.
Lauren DeBruin is a first year English student at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. She is originally from Hertfordshire and was a winner of the senior prize 2020. Lauren’s short story, ‘What We Lost’, explored the possible future our planet could face if we do not work to combat climate change immediately. As well as the climate crisis, Lauren is determined to illuminate the disparities between privately and state educated students, and is dedicated to intersectional feminism in her work.
The variety of periods, genres and forms Lauren studies in her degree have enabled her to understand the different ways a writer may choose to deliver their message, and how a reader may interpret them.
Grace is a 17 year old student from Scotland currently undertaking Advanced Highers in both English and Modern Studies, as well as A-Level History. She was a runner-up in the 2020 Orwell Youth Prize for her short story ‘Perpetual’, and hopes to further her abilities as a writer with a degree in English and Media Studies. She is passionate about structural inequality, and hopes to use her work as a platform to explore potential areas for change.
Grace is currently reading ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams.
Tom Finlayson is a 16-year-old from Dronfield studying English Literature, History, French and Film Studies A Levels. He is interested in the future issues facing the world and considering how inequality interacts with these, fascinated by the way geography, class, sex, race, employment and age affect people’s lives.
He won the junior Orwell Youth Prize with his short story Not So Welcome Break, which explores the issues of automation, renewable energy and growing inequality. As these issues come more and more to the forefront of our lives, it asked the question of how we should balance the greater good with achieving widespread fairness and equity.
Tom is a big fan of The Godfather by Mario Puzo and is currently reading Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.
I am an 18 year-old A-Level student based in Rotherham who is studying English Literature, English Language and Psychology. I am interesting in all parts of the human psyche, which may relate to my fascination with the Gothic and unnerving. As well as delving into the dark, I am passionate about the fight against climate change and social inequality for people of all walks of life, something that my poem for the 2020 Orwell Youth Prize – ‘The Future’ – explored using a dystopian construct. I love dystopia; some of the books that have had the most profound effect on me are from the dystopian genre such as ‘Warm Bodies’ by Isaac Marion and ‘The Maze Runner’ series by James Dashner. However, my favourite book is ‘Stalking Jack the Ripper’ by Kerri Maniscalco.
I am currently reading ‘The Wicked King’, the second book in ‘The Folk of the Air’ series by Holly Black which is a young adult fantasy series with many morally ambiguous characters – something I would like to work on in my own writing.
Madeleine Hobern is a first year Architecture student at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. She is driven by creating a world where the built environment can serve as a basis for social equality, climate progression, and collective wellbeing. Inspired by current events, Madeleine’s essay on ‘Designing for Distance’, achieving runners up prize in 2020, illustrating how the Coronavirus pandemic is impacting on the architecture of today and tomorrow. She has a keen passion for learning from the past and present to develop beneficial environments for the future.
Madeleine is currently reading Frank Lloyd Wright’s Natural Design, Organic Architecture: Lessons for Building Green.
I am a 15 year old schoolboy from the East of England. I love sport, especially running, hockey and cycling, because of the freedom associated with exercise. I find a similar kind of escape in books. Derek Landy said that he is every book he’s ever read, the sum of his obsessions. Given this, I am The BFG, I am How To Train Your Dragon, I am Harry Potter, I am definitely Skulduggery Pleasant, and I am the Book Thief. (I mostly like to think of myself as Alex Rider, though!) I think being the sum of what you have read is very true, as these books will influence you throughout your life.
I am currently reading The Cousins by Karen M. McManus, but I have a very diverse taste and it could be anything after that.
Manal Nadeem is a 19-year-old student – although she likes to think of people-watching as her part-time job: it brings her enormous satisfaction to take notice of the world – its characters, its plotlines and problems – then pour these reflections onto paper. She is particularly interested in writing that engages with the sociopolitical as a kind of megaphone to amplify marginalised causes. To this end, she wrote the essay, ‘The Poverty Pandemic’, which was a Senior Runner Up for the 2020 Orwell Youth Prize.
Her favourite books include A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf and anything by Arundhati Roy or Jhumpa Lahiri.
Noah Robinson is an A Level Student studying English Literature, History and Religious Studies and is based in Reading. As a runner-up to the junior prize in 2020, his prose piece ‘Here There Are No People’ was praised for its “ambition” and “exciting combination of styles”. Central to Noah’s work is the voice of the speaker, exploring a personal and political issue through a variety of perspectives. His exploration of narrative on political issues continues on the online magazine ‘The Justice Gap’, where he reports on a variety of under-represented topics.
Noah is currently reading ‘Another Country’ by James Baldwin
Jamie See is a 15-year-old student in Winchester. She was a junior runner up in 2020 for her collection of poems ‘A Love Symphony to the World’, where she explores the inequalities and problems faced by the average person, while advocating for hope in the future. In her free time, she enjoys reading all genres of books, writing poetry and debating about social injustices. She believes writing is an expression of one’s thoughts and feelings, and sees literature as a reflection of the human experience.
Jamie is currently reading Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy.
Naomi Thomas is a 17-year-old writer from Sheffield. She was a senior runner up in the George Orwell Youth Prize 2020, one of five shortlisted writers for the BBC Young Writers’ Award 2020, and highly commended for the Young Northern Writers’ Award 2020. She is particularly passionate about fighting to stop the current climate crisis, and hopes to use her writing in order to do this, after being inspired by the way authors such as Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo have battled for social justice in the past.
I’m Rosaleen, I am a 19 year old, gap year student based in Manchester. I am currently working as a tutor, and in my free time I volunteer for the charity Youth Leads, who I represent on the GMYCA. Next year I will be attending Durham University, studying Archaeology and Anthropology. In 2020 I was a senior winner for my essay ‘Streets in the Sky’, about the 1960s slum clearances in Hulme, and explored the relationship between government, town planners and the actual people whose lives will be affected.
Jessica Tunks is an 18 year old A Level student from London, who currently studies Biology, English Literature, Photography, and Psychology. She hopes to go on to complete a degree in Psychology at university. She was a senior winner in 2020 for her piece ‘Knifepoint’, an article about the possible causes of and solutions to the problem of youth violence, drawing on personal experience and case studies from successful Violent Reduction Units to build her case. She is passionate about many social justice issues and hopes to continue to use her writing to fight for a fairer world.
Jessica is currently reading ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.