Interview with Clarissa Murphy, Orwell Youth Prize runner-up

Clarissa Murphy was a junior Orwell Youth Prize Runner Up in 2019, responding to the theme 'A Fair Society?' We asked Clarissa about the inspiration behind her piece and why she writes.

Interview with Clarissa Murphy, Orwell Youth Prize runner-up

What was the inspiration behind your piece?

My inspiration for this piece came from the real world, and what I observe on a daily basis. In London homelessness is everywhere, and I wanted to make a piece to potentially provide insight into what it is like to live in a homeless person’s shoes and to tackle the stigma around homelessness.

Why did you pick the form you did?

In terms of form, I settled on what came naturally and I think, in turn, it fitted better with the piece. The first person narrative is almost like a diary entry from the homeless man, and allowed me to get across his cynical views about society.

Why do you Write?

I write because it is a way to let your mind be creative in a world that is so focused on academics. It is also really satisfying to see a finished piece on a page and feel like that is something you have created and has meaning to you.

What's your advice to fellow young writers?

To fellow young writers, I don’t really know if I can give advice because I still have so much to learn, but I would say don’t try to write to fit the mould. Just let it come to you naturally and that is what will be more interesting for someone to read.

And what's piece of writing/poem/novel/article/film that has influenced you?

I am interested by playwrights and their works which I think is why I like to focus on the characters and their emotions. Some playwrights that inspire me are Jez Butterworth, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Alice Birch.


You can read Clarissa's entry for the Orwell Youth Prize, 'Through His Eyes', right here on Voice.

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The Orwell Youth Prize

The Orwell Youth Prize

The Orwell Youth Prize is an annual programme for 12-18-year olds culminating in a writing prize. Rooted in Orwell’s values of integrity and fairness, the prize and the activities around it introduce young people to the power of language and provoke them to think critically and creatively about the world in which they are living.

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