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Creative writing student wins Orwell Society dystopian fiction prize

Maja Olsen wins first prize, while fellow City student Nick Owen is commended by judges


Maja Olsen, a student on the Creative Writing and Publishing MA at City, University of London, has won the 2017 Dystopian Fiction Prize, organised by the Orwell Society.

It is the second year in a row that a student on the course has won the short story award.

The judges said Maja's story, The No Child Policy, was “a highly accomplished piece of writing which slowly builds to a horrific and unexpected ending”.

The prize of £500 comes with a trophy, which is a bust of Orwell. They will be handed over by George Orwell’s son, Richard Blair, at the society’s AGM in London on 22nd April.

Maja said: “I'm thrilled and honoured to learn that I've won. The short story I submitted is based on the novel I'm developing for my major project, and receiving this prize has given me a boost to finish it. I did not see this coming at all, but it was a happy surprise.”

Nick Owen, who is also on the Creative Writing and Publishing MA course, was a finalist with his story, Hello, Are You There?, and was commended by the judges.

The annual competition is open to all BA and MA students in Britain.

The judges, who praised the overall high standard of the entries, included Richard Blair, Patron of the Orwell Society, Dr Julie Wheelwright of City, Dr Luke Seaber, of University College London, and Professor Richard Lance Keeble, OS Chair.

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