Gideon Rachman and Iona Craig win The Orwell Prize for Journalism 2016

Wednesday 01 June 2016

The winners of the Orwell Prize 2016 were announced today, Thursday 26th May 2016.

  • Two journalists share the award for Journalism: Financial Times’ Chief Foreign Affairs Columnist Gideon Rachman and freelance journalist Iona Craig.
  • Judges decide to jointly award the prize for “two distinct schools of journalism”:
  • Craig, a former jockey, wins for frontline reporting on the conflict in Yemen.
  • Rachman’s prize-winning portfolio contains “Olympian” commentary on and analysis of international politics

The Orwell Prize rewards the writing that comes closest to achieving Orwell’s ambition to ‘make political writing an art’. The winners will share the £3000 prize, which was presented today at a ceremony in Fyvie Hall at the University of Westminster.

Richard Blair, George Orwell’s son, presented each winner with a trophy exclusively designed and made by three second-year design students at Goldsmiths University: Tom Morgan, Archie Harding and Panaigiotis Tzortzopolous.

The judges for the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2016 were Frances Cairncross, John Lloyd and Richard Tait.

Frances Cairncross, one of the judges, comments: “The winners demonstrate the very best of two distinct schools of journalism. Gideon Rachman, on the staff of the Financial Times, reflects with Olympian perception on the larger currents of the news, moving thoughtfully between continents and countries. Iona Craig is a freelance journalist, writing with immense courage about one of the least reported and most dangerous conflicts of our age. She has been one of the very few journalists to brave the conflict in Yemen and draw its horrors to global attention”

John Lloyd, a fellow judge, said The Orwell Prize attracts much of the best political writing in the UK – of every kind. Iona Craig’s journalism is close textured, compassionate and campaigning, exposing the real consequences of the shrinking of socially funded justice. Gideon Rachman provides dispassionate and acutely observed views of the world’s large events, providing the reader with some orientation in a world undergoing rapid transformations”.

Rose Sinclair, Lecturer in the Department of Design at Goldsmiths, University of London, said: “It has become tradition for students from our department to design and make the Orwell Prize trophy. Tom, Archie and Panaigiotis have worked together to create something that resonates with the rhetoric of the George Orwell prize: creative, stylish, symbolic, a piece of art in its own right.”


iona_craigFor further information, images and interviews please contact Stephanie Le Lievre at the Orwell Prize

Tel: 0207 848 7930




Notes to editors:

  1. The Orwell Prize is Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing. Every year, prizes are awarded to the book and journalism entries which come closest to George Orwell’s ambition to ‘make political writing into an art’.
  2. For more information, please see our website
  3. The Orwell Prize 2016 is for books and journalism first published in the calendar year 2015. All entries must have a clear link to the UK and Ireland, such as residency or citizenship of the author, or first publication. The Prizes are self-nominating. Someone involved in the creation of the work should be responsible for entering it – this may be, for example, the author, editor, or publisher.
  4. The Orwell Prize for Journalism received 109 entries in 2016.
  5. The Prize was founded by the late Professor Sir Bernard Crick 1993, awarding its first prizes in 1994.
  6. The Orwell Prize is sponsored and supported by Political Quarterly, AM Heath and Richard Blair.
  7. The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils is sponsored and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, an independent organisation working to inspire social change through research, policy and practice. For more information, please see
  8. The Director of the Orwell Prize is Professor Jean Seaton
  9. The Orwell Prize is a registered charity (no. 1161563).