Newsletter: Barnsley, Boys’ Weeklies and Amateur Tramping

Friday 18 March 2011

We’ve got lots of exciting new Orwelliana for you this week.

First, while Orwell writes about Barnsley (and goes to hear a speech by Oswald Mosley) in the Wigan Pier diary, we’ve now added Orwell’s notes on Barnsley to our website. We’ve previously published his research on WiganSheffield, and some related images from the archive.
Second, last Friday we added ‘Inside the Whale’ to our site, first published in March 1940 in an essay collection of the same name. The two other essays in that collection were ‘Charles Dickens’ and ‘Boys’ Weeklies’, both of which can now be found on our website.
And finally, you can read about Orwell’s first experience as an ‘amateur tramp’ – at the age of 17. Stuck at a railway station without a train to catch, young Eric Blair is forced to choose between shelter and no food, or food and sleeping rough. ‘I am very proud of this adventure, but I would not repeat it’, writes Orwell to his friend, Steven Runciman.

The Orwell Prize 2011

This year’s longlists will be announced in under a fortnight’s time, on 30th March 2011.

Orwell Prize at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival 2011

We have three events coming up at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival – click the links to find out more and book:
More speakers to be confirmed shortly…

From the archive

With previous winner, Raja Shehadeh, writing one of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Letters to the Arab World’ this week, it would be a good time to revisit some of our archive on him. We have extracts from his winning Palestinian Walks, public appearances (including the Edinburgh Festival) and two items with shortlisted Marina Lewycka: a talk at the Edinburgh Book Fringe, and an article called ‘Two Walks’ after they walked together in Palestine and the Peak District.
There was some controversy in the UK this week about the popular TV show, Midsomer Murders, which caused some people to reach for Orwell’s classic essay on the ‘Decline of the English Murder’. You can read the essay on our website.

From elsewhere

On the web this week:

The Wigan Pier Diaries

This week, entries were published on 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 18th March.
Next week, entries will be published on 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and – the final entry – 25th March.
In addition to the blog, we have a Google Map tracking Orwell’s journey, a flickr set of archive images, and our page on The Road to Wigan Pier, with the first chapter and other links.

The Wartime Diaries

This week, entries were published on 14th March.
Next week, entries will be published on 20th, 23rd and 24th 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.