Interview with Hugh Ludford, Orwell Youth Prize Winner

Hugh Ludford was a junior 2020 Orwell Youth Prize winner, responding to the theme ‘The Future We Want’.

Interview with Hugh Ludford, Orwell Youth Prize Winner

What was the inspiration for your piece?

I wanted my piece to be relevant now, and with the huge increase in the popularity of veganism over the last few years, I thought this would be an interesting field to explore. I added entomophagy (the practice of eating insects) to veganism as both are more sustainable than our global diet today. The idea of the corruption and hypocrisy was inspired in part by two quotes from Neal Shusterman’s book, The Toll – ‘Why must we always sabotage the pursuit of our own dreams?’ and ‘We are imperfect beings, how could we ever fit in a perfect world?’. These quotes gave me the idea of hypocrisy from those who implement change, and that humanity may never be ready to fully embrace a perfect future, tying in with this year’s theme – The Future We Want.

Why did you choose the medium of your chosen form (poem, fiction, essay etc) to communicate your idea about the future?

Originally, I had intended to illustrate my idea for the future through a newspaper report, but found it much harder to show different settings and character perspectives in this form. I really wanted to give my piece a more cinematic feel – of zooming out to see the big picture before zooming in on a single character and their views – and I decided that the best way to achieve this was by writing in a more scene-led narrative, which lent itself to a short story. I also used this medium to show the whole world, and how it had changed, rather than one country or location.

What is your one tip to young writers?

Read. A lot. I think that this is how you can get really familiar with the language and tone of different genres, which will let you write in a wider range of styles and voices. It doesn’t even matter what you read – ingredient lists, news articles, novels – none of it is wasted because anything you read will give you a better understanding of that particular style. Also, counter-intuitive as it may seem, leaving a piece you are writing for a while to do something else you enjoy can really help you gain a fresh perspective or new ideas. I find when I’m writing that my attention span and the quality of any new ideas will decrease over time, so getting out and doing something else can ‘reset the timer’ on my attention span and improve my writing.

Read Hugh's winning entry, 'You Are What You Eat' here


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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