Newsletter: Orwell’s Christmas Pudding

Friday 10 December 2010

With Christmas only a couple of weeks away, your thoughts may be turning to preparations for the big day. And if you’re still in need of a Christmas pudding, Orwell may be able to help. In 1946, Orwell was commissioned to write a piece on British Cookery by the British Council, which he duly completed. But – given the deprivations of wartime Europe – the Council decided not to publish it, and the essay remained unpublished during Orwell’s lifetime. (He was paid for it, though.) The essay ends with a number of recipes – including one for Christmas pudding (and one for plum cake, ‘which is an extremely rich, elaborate and expensive dish, and is eaten by everyone in Britain at Christmas time’). The treacle tart also comes highly recommended from us… Happy cooking!

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.

From the archive

This week’s Orwell diary entry – where Orwell talked about the destruction of Warsaw with a Pole he met at the BBC, and described how air-raids caused him to recount ‘scraps of nonsense poetry’ – mentioned a radio broadcast two days previously. That broadcast was Orwell in discussion with presenter, Desmond Hawkins, on the subject of ‘The Proletarian Writer’. You can read it on our website. The poet (and propagandist), John Milton, was born on the 9th December in 1608. One of Orwell’s more famous essays on intellectual liberty and the freedom of the press, ‘The Prevention of Literature’, was written following an English PEN event celebrating the tercentenary of Milton’s Areopagitica. Orwell was concerned that no-one speaking at the meeting argued ‘that freedom of the press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose… In its net effect the meeting was a demonstration in favour of censorship’. You can find the ‘The Prevention of Literature’ in our Orwell essay section, and linked from our 1984 page.

From elsewhere

Taiwan’s Tunghai University is hosting a conference, ‘George Orwell: Asian and Global Perspectives’, on 21 May 2011. For more details, see the Call for Papers on our website. Orwell biographer, Jeffrey Meyers, appeared on National Review Online’s ‘Between the Covers’ podcast this week. You can listen to it on their website. We’ve donated a selection of the longlist from last year’s Orwell Prize – including the winner, Keeper by Andrea Gillies – to our friends at the Travel Bookshop. If you’d like a chance to win the book bundle, you can buy a raffle ticket on the Travel Bookshop’s website. (And don’t forget to watch the video of ‘Orwell and Russia’, our first discussion to be held there).

The Orwell Diaries

The next Orwell diary entry will be published on 29th December. Last week, diary entries were published on 8th December. 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.