Nicci Gerrard wins The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils 2016

Thursday 26 May 2016

The winner of the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils 2016 was announced today, Thursday 26th May 2016.

  • Nicci Gerrard wins the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils for her reporting on the care and understanding of dementia patients in the UK in The Observer and on social media.
  • The Prize, for social issues reporting across two or more platforms, is sponsored and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
  • Gerrard’s reporting and the associated ‘John’s Campaign’ for the right to stay with people with dementia in hospital have raised the issues onto the policy agenda.
  • Her writing and the campaign were motivated by the decline in hospital of Gerrard’s father, Dr John Gerrard, who suffered from Alzheimer’s.

Nicci Gerrard received the £3000 prize at a ceremony in Fyvie Hall at the University of Westminster.

Richard Blair, George Orwell’s son, presented each winner with a trophy exclusively designed and made by three design students at Goldsmiths University: Tom Morgan, Archie Harding and Panaigiotis Tzortzopolous.

Julia Unwin, CEO of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and one of the judges, said “Nicci Gerrard raises fundamental questions about how we, as a society, treat people with dementia.  A lack of humanity, dignity and respect in the delivery of public services is a modern day social evil that can have devastating consequences for individuals and leave families confused, isolated and frightened for the safety of their loved ones. Nicci’s own personal experience adds an authenticity and sense of urgency to her journalism, at the same time, she eloquently reminds us of the role of culture and the importance of authentic representation to challenge stereotypes and open up debate about difficult and complex issues.  Her work is both bold and practical and a shining example of the role of journalism in exposing today’s social evils.”

The judges for the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils 2016 were Julia Unwin, Nicholas Timmins and Emily Ashton.

Nicci Gerrard is novelist and the author of Soham: A Story Of Our Times. She also writes with her partner Sean French as Nicci French.

Nicci Gerrard’s winning portfolio ‘Word Fail Us: Dementia and the Arts’ can be found on our website.

Rose Sinclair, Lecturer in the Department of Design at Goldsmiths, University of London, said: “It has become tradition for students from our department to design and make the Orwell Prize trophy. Tom, Archie and Panaigiotis have worked together to create something that resonates with the rhetoric of the George Orwell prize: creative, stylish, symbolic, a piece of art in its own right.”

For further information, images and interviews, please contact Stephanie Le Lievre at the Orwell Prize

Tel: 0207 848 7930 




Notes to editors:

  1. The Orwell Prize is Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing. Every year, prizes are awarded to the book and journalism entries which come closest to George Orwell’s ambition to ‘make political writing into an art’.
  2. For more information, please see our website
  3. The Orwell Prize 2016 is for books and journalism first published in the calendar year 2015. All entries must have a clear link to the UK and Ireland, such as residency or citizenship of the author, or first publication. The Prizes are self-nominating. Someone involved in the creation of the work should be responsible for entering it – this may be, for example, the author, editor, or publisher.
  4. The Prize was founded by the late Professor Sir Bernard Crick 1993, awarding its first prizes in 1994.
  5. The Orwell Prize is sponsored and supported by Political Quarterly, AM Heath and Richard Blair.
  6. The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils is sponsored and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, an independent organisation working to inspire social change through research, policy and practice. For more information, please see
  7. The Director of the Orwell Prize is Professor Jean Seaton
  8. The Orwell Prize is a registered charity (no. 1161563).