Orwell and The Observer

Friday 09 December 2011

One of the newspapers Orwell used to write for, The Observer, celebrated its 220th birthday on 4 December. Orwell’s writing for The Observer is collected in Orwell: The Observer Years, which Andrew Anthony reviewed in the paper in 2003. One of Orwell’s wartime dispatches is available online: ‘Future of a ruined Germany’, from April 1945. More recently in The Observer, Robert McCrum wrote about Orwell’s struggle to write Nineteen Eighty-Four and why it’s difficult to conjure the spirit of Orwell (as well as joining Andrew Anthony in reviewing Orwell: The Observer Years); previously longlisted Sunder Katwala introduced Keep the Aspidistra Flying to a reading group (more on the novel on our site); and previous winner, the late Paul Foot, reviewed a couple of Orwell biographies (by Gordon Bowker and D. J. Taylor) on the centenary of Orwell’s birth. As part of The Observer’s own celebration, current editor John Mulholland wrote about former editor David Astor, a great friend and patron of Orwell’s. You can read a bit more about their relationship in ‘An Oxfordshire Tomb’, an extract from D. J. Taylor’s Orwell biography (and he also appears in ‘Orwell’s Voice’, also by Taylor).

Entries now OPEN

The Orwell Prize 2012 is now OPEN for entries. Entry forms for all three prize, and basic details of the entry process, are available on our ‘How to Enter’ page. You can also check out the full rules and the values of the Prize, or learn more about the judges. Entries close on 18 January 2012, for all work first published in 2011. The Prize is self-nominating, but if you think there’s someone who should enter, either encourage them to do so or get in touch. Good luck!

Nineteen Eighty-Four at Foyles

For a couple of months from this week, the Foyles Café at Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, will be exhibiting some of Aleks Krotoski’s photographs inspired by Nineteen Eighty-Four. Aleks spent just over a year telling the first 369 words of the novel, one word at a time, in photographs. You can see the full set of images on her Flickr stream, and you can buy some of the images via her website. More on the novel on our site.

From the archive

A few Orwell essays celebrated anniversaries this week. On Tuesday, it was ‘The Proletarian Writer’, first broadcast by the BBC in 1940. On Wednesday, it was ‘Freedom of the Park’, brand new to our site, and first published by Tribune in 1945. And on Thursday, it was ‘The Case for the Open Fire’, written for the Evening Standard in 1945 – while we don’t have that essay, we can bring you previous Journalism Prize winner Peter Hitchens’ blogpost on it. The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival joined twitter this week. We’re currently planning three events to take to the 2012 Festival, including a brilliant discussion on the 75th anniversary of The Road to Wigan Pier, but until then… You can watch videos of all our events from the 2011 Festival, 2010 Festival and 2009 Festival – on topics from Kipling and Dickens to Afghanistan and the intelligence services – or listen to our 2008 event (Tony Benn and Alastair Campbell on political diaries) on our website.

From elsewhere

The Wartime Diaries

The next entry will be published on 14th March.

The Hop-Picking Diaries

The final entry was published on 8th October.

The Wigan Pier Diaries

The final entry was published on 25th March. If you’ve got any suggestions about our website(s), we’d love to hear from you – email us on gavin.freeguard@mediastandardstrust.org or follow us on Twitter. And you can subscribe to this newsletter via email.