Winner of student dystopian fiction prize announced
Jon Platten, a student on the University of East Anglia’s MA Biography and Creative Nonfiction programme, is the winner of this year’s Orwell Society Dystopian Fiction Competition. According to the judges, his story, ‘The Report’, cleverly captured some intriguing dystopian elements (such as the Aspiration Compliance Centre, Communications Police, Regional Autonomy Directive 13: ‘Work not Play, Facts not Thoughts’ and Creativity Reduction Inspectorate) while, at the same time, critiquing with an impressive wit many aspects of contemporary educational policy.
The judges in the competition – open to all BA and MA students in Britain – were Richard Blair, son of George Orwell and Patron of The Orwell Society, Dr Luke Seaber, of University College London, Dr Julie Wheelwright, of City, University of London, and Professor Richard Lance Keeble, OS Chair. All the entries to the competition were anonymised for assessment.
The prize of £500 comes with a trophy which is a bust of Orwell. They are to be handed over by Richard Blair at the Society’s April AGM in London.
Coming a very close second was Harriet Reilly, of City, University of London’s Creative Writing and Publishing MA, for her story ‘Hannah’, described by one judge as ‘remarkably convincing world-building without any need for flashy effects, understatedly chilling in its implications and echoes’.
Other students commended were Jack Staples-Butler, of BPP University Law School, Mark Hankin, of the Drama and Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia, Antonino Lupo, of City, University of London’s Creative Writing and Publishing MA, Sophie Tate, of the University of Derby’s BA Creative and Professional Writing, and Kevin Trew, of Anglia Ruskin University’s Creative Writing MA.
The judges also praised the overall high standard of entries.