Newsletter: Orwell Lecture 2010 next week – Ferdinand Mount

Friday 19 November 2010

This year’s George Orwell Memorial Lecture takes place next Friday, 26th November. Ferdinand Mountformer Orwell Prize judge (2009), former head of the Downing Street Policy Unit, former editor of the Times Literary Supplement and novelist and author – will be speaking on ‘Orwell and the Oligarchs’. The lecture starts at 5pm, and will take place in the Beveridge Hall, Senate House, London. Senate House was one of the inspirations for the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s 1984. To reserve a free place, email Video of the lecture will be available on our YouTube Channel after the event.

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 and Russia

We ran a wide-ranging discussion last night on ‘Orwell and Russia’ with our friends at Notting Hill’s famous Travel Bookshop. Journalist and translator, Masha Karp, and journalist John Lloyd discussed Soviet Russia’s influence on Orwell and the influence of Orwell’s work in Russia, touching on Homage to Catalonia, Animal Farm (and its proposed preface, ‘The Freedom of the Press’), Nineteen Eighty-Four and much else besides. Video from the event is starting to appear on our website and on our YouTube channel, and the full video will be available by next week’s newsletter. Follow us on Twitter for full updates.

From the archive

This year’s Orwell lecturer, Ferdy Mount, follows in a strong recent tradition. Last year’s lecture was given by Man Booker winner, Hilary Mantel, on the subject of her winning novel, Wolf Hall: Thomas Cromwell. Before that, novelist and writer Andrew O’Hagan lectured on ‘The English’, and we also have a transcript of the 2007 Lecture, when Michael Rosen (then Children’s Laureate) lectured on ‘The Politics of Response: Orwell’s contribution to the questions of how we read and what reading is for’. Ireland’s economic woes have been prominent in the news this week. Over the last few years, we’ve longlisted Roy Foster’s Luck and the Irish which analysed the Celtic Tiger on the way up, and Fintan O’Toole’s Ship of Fools, which covered the way down. A number of our events over the last few years have looked at the global crisis: Dr Patricia Clavin, Will Hutton and Mark Thompson on political crisis and economic crash at Oxford, 2009; Andy Beckett, Lisa Harker and Paul Mason on unemployment and uncertainty in London, summer 2009; and Paul Collier, David Halpern, David Smith and Linda Yueh on ‘the economy – what next?’ at Oxford 2010. This year’s launch debate also considered the consequences of the British Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

The Orwell Diaries

Next week, diary entries will be published on 23rd November. Last week, diary entries were 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.