Winner of London Met’s Big Writing Challenge announced

Creative writing competition launched by London Met and Orion Publishing won by Elyana Guler for ‘The Grimm’.

Date: 8 August 2022

The Big Writing Challenge, a collaborative effort between London Met and Orion Publishing, has named Elyana Guler winner of the 2022 prize. Guler, a student from Ealing Green College, for her submission ‘The Grimm’.

The competition introduces students aged 16-18 to professionals from the publishing industry including writers, agents and publishers. The challenge aims to equip students with a good knowledge and understanding of how the publishing industry works. Using this heightened awareness, students can actively seek out opportunities to get involved in the aspects of publishing that most interest them. The winner of each year’s competition will see their work published in full on the Orion website.

Emad Akhtar, Publisher at Orion Fiction judged the shortlist and selected ‘The Grimm’ as the winning piece. Emad described Elyana’s writing as “Arresting, immediate and readable, with a very cool and visual concept. With shades of Stranger Things and His Dark Materials, while feeling fresh and distinctive – it felt like a folktale told with an imagination infused by the digital age and capturing a sense of dread of the times.”

Persia Modder, author of ‘The Man in the Lighthouse’ and Zeynep Yilmaz, author of ‘This Place’, both students from Hampstead Fine Arts College were listed as runners up for the writing award.

The challenge consisted of initial schools workshops developed and run by members of London Met’s Creative Writing lecturers and student outreach team. Amy Collins, Liz Routhorn, Renzo Veschini, Irfan Master and Trevor Norris helped students produce a short piece of creative prose with the theme of Future /Journey. This was then followed by a bootcamp at London Met where student groups honed their writing with more editing and critical/technical discussion under the guidance and mentorship of a group leader.

At the bootcamp, the student writers also met industry guests from Orion Publishing Group and had small group discussions with each guest to understand how writing and publishing roles interact.

On 28 June, all participating students were invited to the Orion offices for the prize giving, and to meet more people from Orion in different publishing roles. Each student was invited to take home a recently published book, and the three shortlisted writers received a hardback anniversary edition of Dune by Frank Herbert and a copy of Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez.

Our thanks to all Orion staff involved for helping London Met empower young people and transform their imagination into words.

  • Bartley Shaw, Publishing Operations Director
  • Cait Davies, Deputy Marketing Director 
  • Áine Feeney Editorial assistant at Gollancz
  • Rachael Lancaster, designer
  • Federico Andornino, Publishing Director, Weidenfeld & Nicolson
  • Ruth Sharvell, Production Manager
  • Jake Alderson, Audio Assistant
Students sat in a circle, discussing literature. Big Writing Challenge sign in background

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