The annual Orwell Society Dystopian Short Story Competition for university students this year has been won by Holly Domney, who is studying on the Creative Writing and Publishing MA at City University London. The judges commented on her story, titled Etanidrobus: ‘The writing is very striking and emotionally intense while the imagery is extremely powerful. The horrific dystopian vision of the world run by women is totally original. Holly begins describing the fantasies of the crewmen of an idyllic women-led world. Yet that fantasy is subverted by a grim reality. There is real dramatic tension as Holly describes the build-up of an operation to remove the seed from the narrator’s sexual organs (frightening, indeed, as the torture scenes in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four).’
The judges were Richard Blair, son of George Orwell and Patron of the Orwell Society, Dr Julie Wheelwright, of City University London (she did not assess Holly Domney’s story to avoid conflict of interest issues), Dr Luke Seaber, of University College London, and Professor Richard Lance Keeble, of the University of Lincoln and chair of the Orwell Society. The prize of £500 plus a bust of Orwell (which will be held by the winner for a year) will be handed over by Richard Blair at the Society’s AGM in London on 23 April.
The judges commented on the overall high standard of the entries. Also commended were Helena Hoar, of Birmingham City University; Lewis Kelly, of Liverpool John Moores University; Siren Knight, of Birmingham City University; Alex Murray, of Sheffield Hallam University; Jack Staples-Butler, of the University of York; Jack Timson, of Liverpool John Moores University, and Kate Venables, of Bath Spa University.