Launch 2012, ‘Writing the Riots’

Wednesday 02 November 2011

The Orwell Prize 2012 will open for entries on Wednesday 9th November following a debate about ‘Writing the Riots’ at the Frontline Club in London. Artistic director of the Tricycle Theatre Nicolas Kent, previously shortlisted journalists Paul Lewis and Mary Riddell, and award-winning novelist Alex Wheatle will talk about the riots over the summer and the process of writing about them. There’ll be drinks from 6.30, the announcement of this year’s judges at 7pm and then the discussion itself. If you’d like to book a free place, please email, and please do share the invitation with friends. Entries open on the 9th November and remain open until 18th January 2012, for all work published in 2011. Full entry details and entry forms will be available on our website from the 9th, and if you have any further queries, please get in touch. This year’s longlists will be announced on 28th March 2012, the shortlists on 25th April, and the winners at our awards ceremony on 23rd May – put those dates in your diary now!

George Orwell Memorial Lecture 2011

Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of Guardian News and Media, will be speaking on ‘Hacking away at the truth: an investigation and its consequences’ on 10th November at 6pm. Email to book a free place, or visit our website for more information. The Orwell Lecture is organised by the Orwell Trust with Birkbeck College, University of London.

From the archive

Burmese Days was published for the first time on 25 October 1934 (and in the United States rather than the United Kingdom). There’s lots on our site about Orwell and Burma: his preliminary sketches for Burmese Days, including ‘An Incident in Rangoon’ (also read by Alan Cox), with an introduction by Peter Davison; his famous essays, ‘A Hanging’ and ‘Shooting an Elephant’, and the less well-known ‘How a Nation is Exploited: The British Empire in Burma’; two reviews of books on Burma by Orwell; extracts from Emma Larkin’s introduction to Burmese Days and her Finding George Orwell in Burma; an essay by Douglas Kerr on ‘Orwell, Kipling and Empire’ and by Liam Hunt on ‘Why Orwell Went to Burma’; photojournalist Julio Etchart’s ‘Burmese Days Revisited’; and a UCL podcast featuring Orwell archivist Gill Furlong, stage producer Ryan Kiggell and our director Jean Seaton. You can also watch our 2010 launch debate, ‘what next for Burma?’; our Oxford 2010 debate on ‘the future of Burma’; and our Q&A with the producers of Dispatches: Orphans of Burma’s Cyclone. Tribune magazine – of which Orwell was literary editor – was set to close, but may now have been saved. Some of Orwell’s finest essays were published by Tribune, including ‘Can Socialists Be Happy?’ by ‘John Freeman’ (believed to be Orwell); ‘You and the Atom Bomb’; ‘Good Bad Books’; ‘The Sporting Spirit’; ‘Freedom and Happiness’, a review of Zamyatin’s We; ‘Pleasure Spots’; ‘Books vs. Cigarettes’; ‘Decline of the English Murder’; ‘In Front of Your Nose’; ‘Some Thoughts on the Common Toad’; and ‘Confessions of a Book Reviewer’. This April, former Tribune editor, Paul Anderson, lined up with Sarah Bakewell to argue Orwell’s merits against Rudyard Kipling (represented by Charles Allen and Andrew Lycett). Meanwhile Conrad Landin, who has interviewed both Richard Blair and Michael Foot about Orwell, has set up a ‘Save Tribune’ Facebook group. And don’t forget – you can watch Jose Harris, Owen Jones and Shiv Malik debating ‘Victorian Values’, and Graeme Archer and Oliver Kamm debating political blogging at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival on our website.

From elsewhere

The Wartime Diaries

The next entry will be published on 14th March.

The Hop-Picking Diaries

The final entry was published on 8th October.

The Wigan Pier Diaries

The final entry was published on 25th March. 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.