At the Cheltenham Literature Festival

Friday 19 August 2011

The Orwell Prize is delighted to be organising some events at the wonderful Cheltenham Literature Festival for the first time this October. We’ll be holding at least two events. The first (on Saturday, 15th October at 10am), ‘Victorian Values’, has authors Owen Jones and Shiv Malik looking at poverty and the return of the distinction between the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor. The second (on Sunday, 16th October at 6pm), ‘The Political Network’, features Orwell Prize winner Graeme Archer and previously longlisted Oliver Kamm talking about political blogging. You can book tickets on The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2011 website. Tickets are available to members of the Festival only at the moment, but will be opened up to the general public on Monday.

Orwell and Hop-Picking

Next week’s newsletter will be coming to you on Thursday, because of our soon-to-launch new project, related to Orwell’s hop-picking adventures. You can read his essay on the subject on our website.

From the archive

Although it’s our first year at Cheltenham, we headed there with our camera last year to record Peter Davison talking about Orwell. His ‘Nightmare on Poland Street’ talk covers his experience of editing the Complete Works, compares Orwell and Vasily Grossman, and looks at some Orwell myths and miscellany, including why two plus two didn’t always equal five… There’s more from Peter in our ‘About Orwell’ section. Orwell’s Animal Farm was first published on 17th August 1945. You can read the first chapter on our website, along with Orwell’s proposed preface, which wasn’t published until 1972. There are also links to a British Pathé newsreel about the 1954 animated film, an article on that film and the CIA (full version or abridged), Margaret Atwood on reading the book, The Guardian’s review from 1945, and – last but certainly not least – T. S. Eliot’s letter rejecting the chance to publish Animal Farm. Sadly, one of our favourite (and local) bookshops, The Travel Bookshop, is to close. We held an event on Orwell and Russia there last year, featuring journalist John Lloyd and translator and journalist Masha Karp. And with the new series of Celebrity Big Brother debuting last night, here’s Orwell’s thoughts on the show from 2002, as told to D. J. Taylor. There’s much more from David – including biographical sketches of Orwell, and discussions on Orwell and Dickens and Waugh – on our site.

From elsewhere

The Wartime Diaries

The next entry will be published on 28th August.

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. We’ll have some more exciting Orwell diary news soon… 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.