Newsletter: Orwell and Russia – event next week

Friday 12 November 2010

Orwell’s work was highly critical of Soviet Russia and its uncritical adherents, made clear in such works as his proposed preface to Animal Farm. After his death, Animal Farm and 1984 – both satires on Russia – were banned behind the Iron Curtain. We’re therefore delighted to be holding a discussion on Orwell and Russia next Thursday, 18th November, at Notting Hill’s famous Travel Bookshop. Discussing Orwell’s influence on Russia will be Masha Karp, journalist and translator of Animal Farm into Russian, and John Lloyd, contributing editor and former Moscow bureau chief of the Financial Times. The discussion starts at 7pm, with drinks from 6.15pm. Tickets cost £5 and can be purchased from the Travel Bookshop’s website.

Entries open

Entries for this year’s Prize are now open. You can download entry forms for the Book and Journalism Prizes, enter the Blog Prize using the online form, and read the rules and regulations and values of the Prize in full in our ‘How to enter’ section. Entries close on 19th January 2011. Books, journalism and blogs published in 2010, and which have a clear relationship with the UK or Ireland, are eligible. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Orwell Lecture 2010

Our second big event this month is the George Orwell Memorial Lecture, to be given by Ferdinand Mount on the subject of ‘Orwell and the Oligarchs’. The lecture will take place at 5pm on Friday 26th November, and will be held at Senate House, Birkbeck College, London – one of the inspirations behind the Ministry of Truth in 1984. Attendance is free – email if you’d like to come along.

From the archive

John Kampfner, shortlisted for the Book Prize 2010 for Freedom for Sale, wrote about freedom of speech in Singapore for Comment is Free this week and presented a package for BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight (32.56 in). Singapore was the subject of Freedom for Sale’s first chapter, which you can read here. And you can also see video of John talking about free speech (with Catherine Bennett, Geoffrey Robertson QC and Albert Scardino) from the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival 2010 on our website and YouTube Channel. Simon Jenkins, shortlisted for the Book Prize 2007 for Thatcher and Sons, wrote about corruption in sport (and in particular, the effect of investigative journalism on England’s bid for the FIFA World Cup) in today’s Guardian. He quoted Orwell’s ‘The Sporting Spirit’, which you can read on our website. You can also read Peter Davison on Orwell and Sport which suggests Orwell may have misread the Dynamo vs Rangers football match which he discusses in the essay, and British Pathé even has a newsreel of the match.

The Orwell Diaries

Next week, diary entries will be published on 16th November. If you’ve got any suggestions about our website(s), or would like to subscribe to an email version of the newsletter, we’d love to hear from you – email us on or follow us on Twitter.