Newsletter: Orwell’s notes on Wigan

Friday 18 February 2011

If you’re enjoying our Wigan Pier diary blog, you might also want to take a look at Orwell’s notes on Wigan.
In addition to the diary, Orwell conducted a great deal of research, spending a lot of time in public libraries and writing to local officials. Orwell’s notes on Wigan combine this research with other observations from his time in Wigan, notably on housing.
And one of this week’s diary entries gives a fascinating insight into how all of this research was translated into the final book – compare Orwell’s entry of 15th February with this extract from chapter one of The Road to Wigan Pier.

The Orwell Prize 2011

This year’s Prize has received a record-breaking 213 entries for the Book Prize, 87 journalists for the Journalism Prize and 205 bloggers for the Blog Prize. To see a full list of entrants, visit our website.
The longlists will be announced on 30th March 2011.

From the archive

Orwell’s essay, ‘Decline of the English Murder’, was published 65 years ago this week, on 15th February 1946. You can now read it on our website, along with another new addition to our archive – one of Orwell’s most famous essays, ‘Politics and the English Language’.
The wartime diary over the weekend mentioned Orwell’s friend, the author Arthur Koestler. Orwell’s essay on Koestler’s work (which includes the dystopian classic, Darkness at Noon) can be found on our site.
The London Review of Books was having a great deal of fun on twitter with famous typos this week (including this one from Orwell fan, Christopher Hitchens). In his talk at the Cheltenham Festival, Peter Davison discussed some of the more entertaining (honest) Orwell production problems – including a surprising answer to a famous mathematical formula. 2+2 = [blank], anyone?


We’ll be announcing some literary festival events of our own shortly, but until then, a number of previous winners will be appearing up and down the UK:
Aye Write! Glasgow
Jewish Book Week, London
Cambridge Book Festival
Qattan Foundation
Also, this year’s Political Quarterly lecture (PQ are one of our partners) will be given by David Miliband on 8 March. Visit the LSE website for more information.

The Wigan Pier Diaries

This week, entries were published on 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th February.
Next week, entries will be published on 19th, 20th, 21st and 24th February.
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 12th February.
The next entry will be published on 1st 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.