Monday 05 October 2020
The Orwell Foundation is currently inviting entries for The Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2021 and The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction 2021. Publishers and/or authors are invited to submit their titles via the submission link here. Full rules of entry are available on our website. Selected highlights from the rules are included below. Submissions will close on Friday October 30th 2020.
The Orwell Prize for Political Writing is awarded to a work of nonfiction. ‘Political’ is defined in the broadest sense, including entries addressing political, social, cultural, moral and historical subjects. In 2020 the Prize was awarded to Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me (Picador) by Kate Clanchy.
The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, sponsored by A.M. Heath and Richard Blair, is awarded to a work of political fiction and includes YA, graphic novels and short story collections. In 2020, the Prize was awarded to The Nickel Boys (Fleet) by Colson Whitehead.
A full judging line-up for both panels will be announced in early October. Entries to The Orwell Prize for Journalism and The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils will open later this autumn.
The Orwell Prizes aim to encourage good writing and thinking about politics. The winning entries should strive to meet Orwell’s own ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. They should be of equal excellence in style and content – the writing must be both political and artful – and live up to the values of The Orwell Foundation.
Both book prizes are open to works written in English and published in the UK in the calendar year 2020. If the work is also published elsewhere, it must be simultaneously published in the UK – works published in another country before 2020 are not eligible.
The Orwell Foundation is an independent charity. There is no entry fee and no limit to the amount of submissions a publisher or imprint submits. If a book is shortlisted, we ask the publisher to contribute £150 to the cost of publicity. Each winner receives a cash prize of £3,000 and a custom made trophy.
In light of this year’s events, we are in the first instance inviting publishers to submit PDF/ebook copies only. By submitting a book digitally, a publisher is also agreeing to send out six physical copies of their submitted book if requested. Physical books may be requested at any point between the submission window opening and the longlist announcement.
Each year the Orwell Foundation awards Prizes for the books and journalism which come closest to George Orwell’s own ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. The Foundation currently awards four Prizes and a total of £12,000 in Prize money: The Orwell Prize for Political Writing, The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, The Orwell Prize for Journalism and The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils. Each Prize is judged by a separate, independent panel, which changes each year.
The Foundation previously awarded one, combined Orwell Prize for Books (fiction and/or nonfiction). The last winner of the combined book prize (2018) was the Scottish writer and activist Darren McGarvey (aka Loki) for Poverty Safari (Luath Press).
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