About the Orwell Foundation

The Orwell Foundation uses the work of George Orwell to shine a light on brave writing, uncovering hidden lives and uncomfortable truths.

We aim to connect with audiences from schoolchildren to policy-makers, offering a platform to discuss subjects close to Orwell’s heart, including poverty, political extremism, and  the dangers posed by the corruption of language and the rise of new technologies. Orwell’s work powerfully transcends his own era, remaining relevant to the social, geo-political and economic landscapes of the twenty-first century. Orwell exposed the dangers of disinformation and totalitarianism through writing that glowed with integritydecency and fidelity to truth. We celebrate these values with our prizes, school programmes, lectures, debates, and online resources, championing creativity and diversity of opinion to promote Orwell’s desire to ‘make political writing into an art’.

In a relatively brief career, cut short by illness, Orwell wrote six novels, two of which, Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), have had a profound influence on the post-war world. His non-fiction includes The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), an account of his travels through the Depression-era north of England, and Homage to Catalonia (1938), which records his experiences fighting on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. As well as believing in the moral power of language, Orwell understood the dangers that accompany its corruption. His work transcends the immediate circumstances in which it was conceived and is uniquely relevant to the social, political and economic landscapes of the twenty-first century.

An independently registered charity, governed by a board of trustees, the Foundation brings together a wide range of expertise and experience, including distinguished public servants, writers, educators, journalists, academics and Orwell scholars. The current chair of trustees is Ken Macdonald QC, Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, Warden of Wadham College, Oxford. All the Foundation’s programmes are administered by a small team under the Director, Professor Jean Seaton of the University of Westminster School of Media and Communications.

Our programmes include the prestigious Orwell Prizes, awarded each year to the books and journalism which best meet Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’, the Orwell Youth Prize for young writers across the UK, and a growing number of Orwell-related activities  – from events and lectures to dramatised live-readings. Through this work we hope to connect with the many different constituencies to whom Orwell and his writings are a source of inspiration, from policy-makers and politicians to students and schoolchildren, and to offer a platform for debate and discussion designed to appeal to the widest possible public audience. As the only website officially sanctioned by the Orwell Estate, we also publish work by George Orwell (including our Webby-shortlisted Orwell Diaries blog), articles about Orwell and maintain a regularly updated library of online resources.

Nearly seventy years after his death, Orwell has never been more relevant to the world we inhabit. In myriad ways, the terrain of Nineteen Eighty-Four, with its bureaucratic obfuscations, its surveillance culture and its denial of objective truth, can seem uncomfortably close to our own. From the corruption of the media to pervasive new technologies, and from poverty and inequality to the rise of political extremism, his concerns are as germane to the twenty-first century as they were to the circumstances in which his great novels were conceived. We are hard at work to sustain this remarkable legacy.

With the launch of our new Friends scheme, it has never been easier to support our work. You can also use the button below to make a one-off donation.

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