2019 Dystopian Fiction Prize

Today we announce the launch of the Orwell Society 2019 Dystopian Fiction Prize.



Dystopian fiction prize challenge for university students

2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four. As part of our celebrations of Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Orwell Society is organising its fifth annual short story competition for current students (both BA and MA) at British universities. Dystopian narratives of 3,000 words should be sent to Professor Richard Lance Keeble, chair of The Orwell Society, via dystopianfictioncompetition@orwellsociety.com, by 15 February 2019. A fee of £5 will be charged for each entry.

The judging panel comprises Richard Blair, the son of George Orwell and Patron of the Orwell Society, Dr Julie Wheelwright, programme director of the Creative Writing (narrative non-fiction/creative writing and publishing) MA at City, University of London, Dr Luke Seaber, tutor in Modern European Culture at University College London, and Professor Keeble. All submissions are assessed anonymously. The prize of £500 will be announced on 15 March and comes with a trophy which is a bust of Orwell (to be returned at the end of the award year). They will be handed over by Richard Blair at the Society’s AGM later in the year.

The judges will be looking for the narrative which best follows in the tradition set by Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four and which Orwell is most likely to have admired. The winning entry will be published in the Society’s Journal.

Tim Bancroft, of Birmingham City University, was the winner in 2015 while Holly Domney, on City University London’s MA in Creative Writing and Publishing, won in 2016. She commented: ‘Winning the prize is a stellar thing to have on your CV and such a fantastic talking point in an interview.’ And she gave this advice to entrants: ‘I took a simple idea and wasn’t afraid to take it to the extreme and make it dark. Always have an agenda when you write, mine was to promote equality between the sexes, what’s yours?’ And Maja Olsen, also on City’s MA in Creative Writing and Publishing, winner in 2017, commented: ‘Writing a dystopia is a fantastic way to comment on society or to say: “If we don’t watch out, this is what our reality can look like.” It is also a very exciting genre to write.’

Entries can be submitted by paying £5 by one of the following means, referencing your name and the prize:

  • Via Paypal: The PayPal account is paypal@orwellsociety.com.
  • Sterling bank transfer: Make a sterling payment to the Society’s bank account (account name: ‘The Orwell Society’; sort code 601035; account number 13166417).
  • UK sterling cheque: Please send your cheque, payable to The Orwell Society, to The Orwell Society, Marie Cottage, Bickenhill Lane, Catherine-de-Barnes, Solihull B92 0DE.

All submissions should be in a Word file (not PDF) and begin with a cover page providing title of story, name of author, name of university, name of programme studying on, and full contact details (address, telephone etc). The story should be presented in 12 pt Times Roman double spaced – with each page numbered and it should end with a word count.



Orwell Dystopian Fiction Prize Poster_- Click to Download


Uploaded 6th November 2018


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