A century of Michael Foot

Thursday 25 July 2013

The Orwell Prize, Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing, is supported by the Media Standards Trust, Political Quarterly, AM Heath and Richard Blair (Orwell’s son). This week would have been the 100th birthday of Michael Foot, former MP and editor of the Tribune. In Foot’s 2010 obituary Mervyn Jones described him as “one of the most principled British politicians of his era.” Though just ten years younger, Foot had a long career that spanned many years alongside Orwell both during his lifetime as an editor and contemporary, and after his death when Orwell’s fame grew to worldwide prominence. Eighties editor of Tribune, Paul Anderson, said; “Orwell and Foot were two of the great left journalists of the 20th century, and Tribune was their paper. They weren’t close personal friends, but Foot was Orwell’s editor at Tribune for several years and there was a great deal of mutual respect.” Foot himself is on record describing the battles over Orwell at the Tribune: “The group of friends Orwell gathered around himself before and during the war fortified his spirit just when he most needed it: Tosco Fyvel, George Woodcock, Paul Potts, Jack Common, Julian Symons, Arthur Koestler. I would gladly lend my own name to this list of honour, if I could, but it would be shamefully misleading. Aneurin Bevan was my mentor and when I argued with him about Orwell, I was more than probably joining with other Tribune readers protesting about Orwell’s increasingly bitter attacks on the Soviet Union. But in the end I was convinced by Orwell’s case, less by Orwell himself than by Arthur Koestler, who was more and more becoming a second mentor, sweeping aside all opposition with his unmatched polemical power.”

Dates for the Orwell Prize 2014

Get your diaries out for planning submissions to next year’s prize. This week we have announced our dates for The Orwell Prize 2014. Standby for further details of our three annual events and make sure you’re kept up to date with all the news by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and subscribing to our newsletter.

  • 23rd October 2013 Open for entries with launch debate
  • 15th January 2014 Close of submissions
  • 26th March 2014 Longlist announcement
  • 23rd April 2014 Shortlist announcement and debate
  • 14th May 2014 Awards Ceremony

  • From elsewhere

  • Britain must do more to prevent these soldiers’ suicides, on Toby Harnden’s BBC Panorama documentary in The Week
  • This year’s Orwell Prize shortlistee Pankaj Mishra joins judging panel for Folio Prize, BBC News
  • George Orwell: really not all that, The Telegraph

  • The diaries

    Don’t forget our other Orwell Diary blogs: his Wartime Diary, Hop-Picking Diary and The Road to Wigan Pier Diary. You can sign up to our newsletter If you’ve got any suggestions about our website(s), we’d love to hear from you – email us on katriona.lewis@mediastandardstrust.org. You can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.