Anniversary of 1984’s publication

Friday 10 June 2011

Welcome back, after a few weeks away – including a trip to the first ever Orwell in Asia conference, organised by Tunghai University in Taiwan (more on that soon).

This Wednesday 8th June saw the 62nd anniversary of the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four. The not-particularly-important anniversary of this important book proved very popular online, being one of the most popular tweets on twitter that day.
You can read the first chapter of 1984 on our dedicated 1984 webpage, along with lots of other pieces about the book. These include some of Orwell’s own articles on language (‘Politics and the English Language’ and ‘In Front of Your Nose’), dystopian fiction (on Zamyatin’s WeWe and Arthur Koestler) and other subjects (‘Just Junk’ and ‘Pleasure Spots’, both new to our site). We also have plenty of other treats: the original reviews of 1984 by The Guardian and the New Statesman (by V. S. Pritchett), articles by Bernard Crick, Robert Harris, Robert McCrum and Ben Pimlott and a video Q&A with Mike Radford (director of the 1984 film version of 1984). You can also watch the BBC’s 1954 TV adaptation on YouTube (Wikipedia has some more information on the controversy around the broadcast). There’s much more on our website.

This Sunday 12th June will be the 72nd anniversary of Coming Up for Air’s publication: first chapter and much more on our Coming Up for Air page.

Awards Ceremony 2011

Full video of this year’s Orwell Prize awards ceremony – including some wonderful speeches from judge Martin Bright, winners Jenni Russell and Graeme Archer, and Elizabeth Bingham (widow of Book Prize winner Tom Bingham) – can now be found on our YouTube Channel.

And remember – you can read the first chapter of the winning book, all of the winning journalism and the winning blogposts on our site.

From the archive

As well as ‘Just Junk’ (on junk shops like Mr Charrington’s in 1984) and ‘Pleasure Spots’, we’ve added two other Orwell essays to our site this week.
‘Why I Write’ is one of Orwell’s most famous essays, and where the Orwell Prize’s motto, ‘What I have most wanted to do… is to make political writing into an art’ comes from.

‘Benefit of Clergy’ is Orwell’s comment on Salvador Dali’s autobiography, his life and work and the relationship between artist and human being.

Thursday also marked the anniversary of the death of Charles Dickens, who died on 9th June 1870. Orwell’s critical essay on Dickens is in our ‘By Orwell’ section, and you can also watch our Orwell vs Dickens debates from the Oxford Literary Festival 2009 and Buxton Festival 2010.

From elsewhere

And last, but not least:

The wartime diaries

Over the last few weeks, entries were published on 21st, 24th, 25th and 31st May, and 1st, 3rd and 8th June. Over the next week, entries will be published on 14th June.

The Wigan Pier diaries

The final entry was published on 25th March. In addition to the blog, we have a Google Map tracking Orwell’s journey, a flickr set of archive images, and our page on The Road to Wigan Pier, with the first chapter and other links. If you’ve got any suggestions about our website(s), we’d love to hear from you – email us on or follow us on Twitter. And you can subscribe to this newsletter via email.