Happy Birthday George Orwell

Tuesday 25 June 2013

The Orwell Prize, Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing, is supported by the Media Standards Trust, Political Quarterly, AM Heath and Richard Blair (Orwell’s son). To mark the occasion of George Orwell’s 110th birthday, the literary great was trending on Twitter. Following the recent explosion of enthusiasm for Nineteen Eighty-Four many took to the micro blogging site to celebrate with the hashtag ‘always relevant’, sharing favourite quotes like, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.” To keep up with us between newsletters make sure you’re following the prize on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Brian Sewell’s prize winning essays released today

To celebrate George Orwell’s 110th birthday Quartet Books have published the series of Brian Sewell’s essays that won him the Journalism Prize in 2003. Originally published in the Evening Standard – where the author has worked since 1984 – ‘The Orwell Essays’ were picked for their prescience more than ten years on, testament to the Spectator’s view that ‘Brian Sewell is surely the funniest art critic of our time’, and proof that he is so much more… The Independent on Sunday said of the collection; ‘There is constant pleasure in Sewell’s prose: the elegance of phrase, the wry humour and the clarity of insight.’ You can get your own digital copy here.

One Georgie Orwell

Tonight the successful musical, ‘One Georgie Orwell’ will return to the Greenwich Theatre. Following last year’s great run the show will reprise a unique cabaret-style evening bringing together a collection of Orwell’s own words from books and essays, a spiky narration and a line-up of original songs. Last chance to get tickets here.

Dystopian visions of the future

On Thursday The Orwell Prize will travel to Manchester for our first event hosted by The International Anthony Burgess Foundation for a discussion on Dystopian Visions of the Future. George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Anthony Burgess’s dystopias (including 1985 and A Clockwork Orange) provide the starting point for the conversation. The Orwell Prize’s own Dr Michael Sayeau will be joined by Dr Eleanor Byrne (MMU) and Dr Kaye Mitchell (University of Manchester) to examine literary dystopias, and to consider the significance of dystopian ideas for contemporary readers. The event will take place this Thursday evening, 27th June. Places are free, full details here. In the meantime, you might like to have a listen to this brilliant podcast on Burgess and dystopias.

From elsewhere: winners special

  • Girls in care to get more protection from abusers by Andrew Norfolk for The Times
  • The gathering storm by Toby Harnden (and Mark Hookham) for The Sunday Times
  • Living for two years in a room in a homeless hotel by Amelia Gentleman for The Guardian
  • Analysis: Scrap corporate tax and benefit long term, some conservatives say by Tom Bergin for Reuters
  • The diaries

    Don’t forget our other Orwell Diary blogs: his Wartime Diary, Hop-Picking Diary and The Road to Wigan Pier Diary. You can sign up to our newsletter 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.