Bangor University English Literature and Creative Writing student Mishca Burrows has won the prestigious Orwell Society Dystopian Fiction Prize 2023.
The prize is awarded annually by The Orwell Society in recognition of highly original dystopian fiction by a young writer.
The judging panel was made up of George Orwell’s son Richard Blair, Patron of The Orwell Society, Ann Kronbergs, the Society’s Education Trustee, Luke Seaber, Senior Teaching Fellow at University College, London and Nicola Rossi, award-winning dystopian fiction writer and former runner-up in the Society’s Dystopian Fiction Prize.
Assessing the entries anonymously the judging panel unanimously agreed that Mischa’s short story Banana Republic stood out for its contemporary relevance and its engagement with political protest concerns of the dystopian genre.
In her response to the winning story judge Nicola Rossi, herself an award-winning dystopian fiction writer, said that the story shows:
…life in a near-future world from the point of view of an isolated manual worker in a dystopic fulfilment centre. [the author] Applies many of the tropes of 1984 to a plausible, updated scenario. Effective world-building including grim living conditions, totalitarianism and the sparsity of food and water. Offers a little hope through the figure of the child before cruelly dashing it. Strongest and most horrific ending of all the contenders. Great title …
Mishca was be presented with the first prize of £750 and a trophy, a bust of George Orwell, at The Orwell Society’s AGM in London on Saturday April 22nd.
Mishca said, “Winning the Orwell Society’s Dystopian Fiction Prize 2023 is not something I ever believed was possible. I submitted my story expecting to hear nothing back, and I am absolutely delighted to be wrong! Winning this prize marks my first ever publication, and has given me so much confidence. I’m so excited to have won and it feels like I’m taking my first steps into a world I have always wanted to be a part of.”
The whole community of staff and students in the department of Creative Writing, English Literature, Film, Journalism, and Media warmly congratulates Mishca on this prestigious and very well-deserved prize. It is wonderful to see undergraduate students on our courses become confident creative practitioners, who use their talent to engage with social and political questions in original ways. Mischa's wonderful achievement really does highlight what is possible when students study English Literature and Creative Writing with us.
For more information on studying English and Creative Writing at Bangor University, click here