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Altrincham Waterstones employee wins prestigious literary prize

Awarded by The Orwell Society, the prize was presented by George Orwell's son.

Loïs Bolton receives her prize from Richard Blair, George Orwell's son

A part-time employee at Waterstones in Altrincham has won the prestigious Dystopian Fiction Prize.

Awarded by The Orwell Society, Loïs Bolton from Wythenshawe is also a student of Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Liverpool.

Her winning entry, When Fillings Burn, is an intelligent dystopian love story which captured the imagination of all the judges for its subtle yet powerful nature.

Professional judges included James Keane from Manchester based Northodox Press, who said: “The author produces a modern and thought-provoking narrative with the expertise of Atwood and Le Guin.

"Characterisation is poignant and cathartic, with the joyous spirit of humanity and our perseverance.” 

The prize consists of £750, a bust of George Orwell (to be returned after one year) and the entry being published in The Orwell Society Journal, which will be published in the autumn.

Loïs came to the prizegiving in London on May 11th, attended by members of the society and the son of George Orwell, Richard Blair, who presented the prize on the day. 

Loïs (right) at the prizegiving ceremony

She said: “I’m delighted to have won the Prize – as a new writer it’s so affirming to receive such positive and constructive comments on my work, no less from such a great Society, inspired by as influential a writer as Orwell. It was also amazing to receive the prize from Orwell’s son, what an honour!”  

According to the writer, When Fillings Burn has been on a long journey as she submitted it as part of her application for her Masters course (although changed significantly since its original incarnation).

“The bust of George Orwell is sitting pride of place on my shelf at present, and I can’t wait to see the story appear in the Journal. The cash prize is a bonus, but a massively appreciated one at that – it’s such a huge help financially,” she added.

Bolton started work at Waterstones Altrincham in January 2024, fitting the part time job in between her studies. 

Competition entrants were asked to submit dystopian narratives of up to 3,000 words, presenting an original fictional work inspired by George Orwell.