Buxton Festival and The Orwell Prize

Friday 06 July 2012

This newsletter was written by Olivia De Raadt-St. James Tucked away in Derbyshire’s Peak District, the bustling market town of Buxton annually celebrates art. In two weeks, the area will observe its 34th annual Buxton Festival – a nineteen day event showcasing some of the finest opera, music and literature in the land. For several years, The Orwell Prize has taken a panel of historians, journalists, authors and academics to Buxton. In 2009 we asked what makes a good political novel, in 2010 we debated over whether Dickens or Orwell is the greater writer and last year we discussed the notion that politics could be corrupted by corrupted language. For 2012, on 16th July 2012 Tony Wright will chair a debate; Orwell vs. Kipling. In defence of Orwell will be Paul Anderson and Stuart Evers; fighting for Kipling, Jan Montifiore and Charles Allen. Both Orwell and Kipling were award-winning British authors who were born in India and wrote extensively about the British Empire. However, the manner in which each wrote about the British Empire differed greatly. According to Orwell, Kipling was ‘the prophet of British imperialism in its expansionist phase’ who held ‘romantic ideas about England and the Empire’. Orwell himself was known for writing more critically about British Imperialism and the British Empire, as evidenced in his 1948 essay ‘Shooting an Elephant’; which promoted the idea that both the conqueror and the conquered are destroyed by the process of imperialism. Despite their differences, both Englishmen were incredibly talented intellectuals. Each recognised and utilised the power of publication as a medium through which greater political consciousness could be cultivated within society. In anticipation of the event you could watch the debate that we took to Oxford with a slightly different panel or read ‘Orwell, Kipling and Empire’, a comparison of the men by Douglas Kerr, on our website. We would love to see you on the 16th of July 2012 at the debate between team Orwell and team Kipling, at the Pavilion Arts Centre in Buxton. You can buy tickets here. However, for those of you who are unable to join us a video will be uploaded to our website soon after.

Orwell BBC series announced

We are delighted to share with you that last week Jonathan Holloway’s new radio dramatisation of Nineteen Eighty-Four was recorded at the BBC’s Broadcasting House. Christopher Eccleston plays Winston Smith, Tim Piggott-Smith is O’Brien and Pippa Nixon is Julia. The two-part classic serial for BBC Radio 4 will be broadcast in January 2013 as part of a series celebrating George Orwell which will also include a new dramatisation of Homage to Catalonia and a new production of Orwell’s own radio adaptation of Animal Farm.

From the archive

Thinking about BBC production as well as the man Orwell was, we are reminded of Chris Durlacher’s work to remember Orwell’s life through film. The Emmy-winning dramatised biography was shown in 2003 for Orwell’s birthday which we celebrated again just last week. You can see the footage on our website. If you’re interested in other Orwell adaptations you might also like the video of how Animal Farm was adapted into an animation here.

From elsewhere

  • Douglas Murray, who was longlisted for the Book Prize this year (and the Journalism Prize last year), wrote a wonderful diary entry on his experience of our 2012 Prize Ceremony
  • If you missed the Orwell Society’s, ‘One Georgie Orwell’ at the Greenwich Theatre earlier this year, you can now watch a clip of the musical tribute on youtube
  • On Monday, George Orwell appeared in a Guardian quiz of their suggested questions for a citizenship test. They asked; what did George Orwell identify as the ‘most hateful of all names in an English ear’? a) Tightwad, b)Nosey parker, c) Trollop or d) Lounge Lizard. You can take the whole quiz here
  • In an interview with The Asian Age, Siddhartha Deb spoke about his 2012 shortlisted book The Beautiful and The Damned
  • The wartime diaries

    This week’s entry was published on 3rd July 1942. Next week’s entry will be published on 10st July 1942. Don’t forget our other Orwell Diary blogs: his Hop-Picking Diary and The Road to Wigan Pier Diary. 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.