Milton Keynes pair recognised at George Orwell-inspired writing competition

Two students from Milton Keynes impressed at this year's competition.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 4:03 pm

A pair of students in Milton Keynes impressed at a George Orwell-inspired national writing competition.

The Orwell Youth Prize strives to keep the spirit of the author alive with a writing competition based around his values of fairness and integrity.

Organisers hope the competition reflects Orwell's commitment to social justice, as a starting point to inspire young people to think and write about the world they live in.

Big praise for this Milton Keynes-based poet

This year's theme was 'A New Direction: Starting Small'.

Varscha Arul was a runner-up in this year's junior competition with his piece, 'Why?'.

One judge summarised Varscha's piece as: “An angry, bare and potent shout in the darkness of social indifference. This young author processes the generational trauma of a people, presents its horrors and dares you to keep ignoring it. Essential, painful and needed.”

It sheds light on the horrifying impact of the civil war in Sri Lanka, and the resulting social injustices and generational trauma experienced both by her own family and Sri Lankan people more widely.

Varscha's piece is available to read online for free, in full, on the Orwell Foundation's website here.

A Milton Keynes entrant was one of the winners in the senior poem competition. Jude Leese's poem 'Work Experience as a Young Campaigner', earned special praise at this year's awards.

The poem focused on both the aspirational and mundane nature of working in local politics.

Here's how one judge summarised Jude's work: “A poem that will resonate with many campaigners young and old, touching on both the inspiration and drudgery of working to make the world a better place. The poet has started small but is on the path to big things."

The poem can be read in full online.

The Orwell Youth Prize which runs each year has the following mission statement: "We reflect back the collective concerns of all our entrants through our research, aiming to make young people’s voices part of the national conversation."