The Orwell Foundation is a registered charity (number 1161563), governed by a Board of Trustees. The Foundation’s objects, as set out in its constitution, are the advancement of education for the public benefit including without limitation the provision of cultural events, debates, online resources and annual prizes – and the advancement of education for children and young people.
Lord Ken Macdonald KCChair
Ken Macdonald KC has practised at the Bar since 1978. A founder member of Matrix Chambers, he was appointed a Recorder of the Crown Court in 2001 and elected Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association in 2003. He served as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) between 2003-2008, the first prominent defence lawyer to have been appointed to that post.
As DPP, he established the Counter Terrorism Division, the Organised Crime Division, the Special Crime Division and the Fraud Division. He played a major role across Whitehall in the development of criminal justice policy, especially in relation to international treaties and jurisdictional issues, mutual legal assistance, extradition, terrorism and grave cross border crime.
He became a Bencher of the Inner Temple in 2004, and he was knighted for services to the law in 2007. Appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 2010, he entered the House of Lords in the same year.
His practice ranges from business and corporate crime and associated extraditions, to financial regulation, sanctions busting, terrorism, espionage and human rights law. His clients have included international media organisations, prominent British banks, major foreign defence corporations, and many family offices and private individuals.
He has a special interest in emerging international criminal liabilities and writes regularly for The Guardian and The Times on law, politics and security.
He was a Visiting Professor of Law at the London School of Economics 2009-2012 and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford. In 2012 he became Warden of Wadham College, Oxford.
Ruby AlexanderTrainee Trustee
Ruby Alexander is a second year Geography student at Durham University. She was Senior Runner Up in the 2021 Orwell Youth Prize for her essay ‘Mending the Safety Net’, which explored new strategies to reduce homelessness. Ruby is interested in questions of power, control and inequality, particularly in relation to unheard and marginalised perspectives. As an Orwell Youth Fellow, Ruby has enjoyed being part of a range of projects, including writing for the Youth Fellows’ Zine, ‘Axial Tilt’, presenting to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Political Literacy on the topic of Political Literacy and Consent, and attending the EU Delegation’s Youth Gathering in London.
Ruby is a Trainee Trustee on the Orwell Foundation board for the academic year 2023-24.
Stephen Armstrong is a journalist and author. He writes extensively for the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph, Wired and the Guardian. He contributes to the Radio Times and Monocle and – occasionally – Radio 4.
He has written five books: The White Island – a history of Ibiza; War plc – an investigation into the private security industry which inspired Ken Loach’s Route Irish; The Super Rich Shall Inherit the Earth – an account of the rise of oligarchs in the developing and developed world; The Road To Wigan Pier Revisited – uncovering hidden poverty in the UK; and The New Poverty – part of the Unreported Britain project.
Stephen founded the Wigan Pier Workshops, is a founder member of Bug – the journalist collective behind the successful Modern Britain talks and events in aid of homeless charity the House of St Barnabas, and is an associate member of the Free Word Centre, which promotes and protects freedom of expression. Inevitably he has a screenplay in development, where he confidently expects it to remain.
Mick is an English Teacher with 27 years’ experience, including many as an Advanced Skills Teacher and Subject Leader for English and Film. He has a Masters in English Studies from Goldsmiths College.
Gavin Freeguard is programme director and head of data and transparency at the Institute for Government. He joined the Institute in 2013 and leads the Institute’s work on data and digital government, including its flagship Whitehall Monitor project (on the size, shape and performance of government), the Data Bites event series and developing the organisation’s skills in analysing and visualising data. He has also worked on other subjects including government contracting and preparing politicians for government.
Gavin was previously political adviser on culture, media and sport to Harriet Harman MP and, before that, deputy director of the Orwell Prize and senior researcher at the Media Standards Trust. While working for the Prize, he came up with the idea for an Orwell Youth Prize with director of the Orwell Foundation, Jean Seaton. He holds an undergraduate degree in Modern History and Politics from the University of Oxford (2007) and a Masters degree in the History of Political Thought and Intellectual History from UCL and Queen Mary, University of London (2012).
He is a trustee of the Orwell Foundation, an elected member of the UK Open Government Network steering group, a member of the research commissioning board of the ESRC’s Administrative Data Research (ADR-UK) project, a member of the Office for Statistics Regulation’s public good of statistics research advisory group and a member of the Treasury’s government financial reporting user group. He sends a weekly email on data visualisation and data called Warning: Graphic Content.
Matt is Project Lead of the Inspire Programme at St John’s College, University of Oxford, and has a number of years’ experience in the field of widening access to higher education. Originally from the North East of England, Matt has an undergraduate degree in History and a Master’s degree in US History from University College, Oxford. Currently based in both Oxford and London, his work with St John’s College involves the management of a range of access programmes for pupils aged 13-18 in the London Boroughs of Ealing and Harrow. He has previously worked on the development and implementation of the University of Oxford’s regional outreach policy, with a particular focus on areas of social, economic, and educational disadvantage in the North East and North West of England.
Kathy Harvey is Associate Dean, MBA and Executive Degrees at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. Formerly, Kathy worked as a producer, reporter and political correspondent for the BBC. She has also worked as a freelance producer for Channel 4 TV, was a commissioning editor for UK national newspaper, the Independent, and has written for the Sunday Times, Financial Times and a variety of specialist publications.
Gavin is Chair of the Resolution Foundation and Chief Executive of the Resolution Trust. He was Chief Executive of Resolution Foundation (2010-15) and before this worked in No 10 Downing Street as Deputy Chief of Staff. Gavin is also Chair of the Living Wage Commission, Chair of the Timewise Innovation Unit for Flexible Work and board member of Political Quarterly and Prospect magazine.
Deborah Lincoln is a Communications, Public Affairs and Corporate Responsibility professional working across the private, public and voluntary sectors. She was SVP, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs International, Warner Bros. Entertainment (2007-2020), and before that headed Communications for Pearson (then owner of FT and Penguin Books). She was Political Adviser to Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and previously led The Labour Party’s women’s organisation, developing policy and campaigns to increase the representation of women. She also worked in senior roles for national charities including MacMillan Cancer Relief, The Prince’s Trust and Prince’s Foundation (HRH The Prince of Wales) and Friends of the Earth.
She chairs the Guildhall School Trust, is Finance Committee Chair and Trustee for Oxford School of Drama and was Chair of Watford Palace Theatre (2015-2022). She is a co-opted Board member of Political Quarterly (PQ), representing PQ as a Trustee on The Orwell Foundation. She has an MSc Econ in Politics from the LSE.
Rebecca is a reporter and writer living in London. Rebecca’s freelance work has been published by the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Washington Post, the New Internationalist, the Independent and others. She is currently writer in residence at Lacuna magazine, a Human Rights magazine based at the Centre for Human Rights in Practice at Warwick University, and a co-editor of Shine A Light, an investigative journalism platform publishing on openDemocracy.net.
Sameer Padania runs independent consultancy Macroscope, which works with diverse stakeholders – including independent media, philanthropy, civil society, businesses, think tanks, & governments – on strategies to defend, support & grow public interest journalism ecosystems around the world. He has worked with the Public Interest News Foundation to help communities in the UK develop Local News Plans. His reports include the Forum on Information and Democracy’s global report calling on governments to deliver A New Deal for Journalism, and guides for grantmaking to journalism, for funding investigative journalism, and on national funds for journalism. He also wrote a regular newsletter about the funding environment for journalism in Europe for the Journalism Funders Forum. (LinkedIn)
Andrew was a lawyer for most of his professional life and was a partner in a major City law firm. Having retired in 2007, he works part-time in the insurance industry as well as being a trustee of charities principally concerned with education. He was a trustee of the Orwell Youth Prize and has also been a trustee of the Guildhall School Trust (which raises money for, and manages the endowment funds of, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama) and was a member of its investment committee. He is also a trustee of Mary Ward Settlement, a charity based in central London which runs a college of further education and a law centre, of which he is also chair of the audit committee, and is a trustee and treasurer of Conciliation Resources, an international non-governmental organisation focused on peacebuilding in conflict zones throughout the world.
Noah RobinsonTrainee Trustee
Noah Robinson is an undergraduate law student at the University of Bristol. He was a runner-up to the Orwell Youth Prize for his short play ‘Here There Are No People’, which explored the experience of child refugees, and was praised by the likes of Kayo Chingonyi and Tishani Doshi. He has been with the Foundation since 2020 as one of the inaugural Orwell Youth Fellows, and is keen to continue to engage with all aspects of the charity’s work, particularly in supporting the next generation of politically and socially engaged writers.
Noah is a Trainee Trustee on the Orwell Foundation board for the academic year 2023-24.
Liz Sich was Managing Director at leading arts PR agency, Four Colman Getty, until her retirement in early 2015. She has a publishing background and was Group Publicity Director at Random House for five years, where she worked with a number of bestselling writers including Sebastian Faulks, Robert Harris, and Ruth Rendell. At Colman Getty, she worked on a range of high-profile projects such as the first volume of Margaret Thatcher’s biography by Charles Moore (which was shortlisted for The Orwell Prize), on Defence of the Realm, the authorized history of MI5, and The Mitrokhin Archive, both by Professor Christopher Andrew.
She led the PR teams for the launch of World Book Day, the opening of the new Library of Birmingham, and the award-winning bookshop, Foyles. Now an MA student at Birkbeck College, she is also a trustee of Streetwise Opera, the Chipping Norton Literary Festival, and Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust.
Su-Mei Thompson is CEO of Media Trust, a non-profit organisation which works with the media industry to give charities and young people a stronger voice while helping the media sector to be more representative.
Previously, she was CEO of The Women’s Foundation Hong Kong. She started her career as an associate at Linklaters and has held senior management positions at The Walt Disney Company and the Financial Times.
Su-Mei also serves on the Board of the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the English National Opera (ENO)’s Insights Council and the Supervisory Board of IMD in Lausanne.
Boyd Tonkin is a journalist, editor and writer who was awarded the Royal Society of Literature’s Benson Medal in 2020 for outstanding service to literature over the course of a career. He currently writes on books and arts for international media including The Economist, The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Times Literary Supplement and UnHerd, and was formerly Literary Editor and Senior Writer at The Independent. He chaired the Man Booker International Prize 2016 and then served as the prize’s Special Adviser. His reader’s guide to global fiction, The 100 Best Novels in Translation, is published by Galileo.
Andrew Williams is Professor of Law and Deputy Head of the Law School at the University of Warwick and co-Director of the Centre for Human Rights in Practice, which he founded in 2006. He qualified as a solicitor in 1986, obtained an LLM in Public Law from the University of Bristol in 1993 and a PhD from the University of Warwick in 2003. He specializes in human rights law and the EU, the laws of war and international criminal law. He also teaches on the Warwick Writing Programme and is editor-in-chief of Lacuna Magazine. Andrew is the author of several books including A Very British Killing: the Death of Baha Mousa (Jonathan Cape 2012), which won the Orwell Prize in 2013.