Orwell Prize 2011 OPEN – judges announced

Thursday 21 October 2010

  • Jim Naughtie, Ursula Owen and Will Skidelsky to judge Book Prize
  • Martin Bright and Michela Wrong judge journalism, ‘Jack of Kent’ and Gaby Hinsliff blogs
  • Orwell Prize launches new website and new app

The Orwell Prize 2011 opened for entries tonight, 21st October 2010, and announced the judges for the forthcoming year. Jim Naughtie (presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, former chair of the Man Booker Prize judges), Ursula Owen (founder director of Virago Press, former editor of Index on Censorship, project director of the Free Word Centre) and Will Skidelsky (books editor of The Observer) will judge the Orwell Prize for Books 2011. 212 eligible books were entered for the Orwell Prize 2010. Judging the Journalism Prize will be Martin Bright (political editor of the Jewish Chronicle, founder and chief executive of New Deal of the Mind, shortlisted for the Journalism Prize 2007) and Michela Wrong (journalist and author, previously shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for all three of her books). 85 journalists entered the Journalism Prize 2010. David Allen Green (shortlisted for the Blog Prize 2010 as ‘Jack of Kent’) and Gaby Hinsliff (former political editor of The Observer) will be this year’s Blog Prize judges. 164 bloggers entered the Blog Prize 2010. The Prize also unveiled its new website, designed to better reflect its programme of public discussions on politics and literature and status as the official home of George Orwell online. And for the first time, the Orwell Prize has a presence in the app market. Last year’s Book Prize shortlist is now available via Ether Books. The Orwell Prize 2011 was launched at a debate on ‘Poverty and the Spending Review’ at the Frontline Club, London, at 7pm. Chaired by Jean Seaton (Director of the Orwell Prize), the panellists were Chris Giles (economics editor of the Financial Times), Lisa Harker (former director of ippr), Dr Patrick Nolan (chief economist at Reform) and David Walker (co-author of The Verdict: Did Labour Change Britain? and Unjust Rewards, both with Polly Toynbee). The Prize will be making poverty a theme of its events this year, and will be marking the 75th anniversary of Orwell’s journey to Wigan Pier in January 2011. The Orwell Prize 2011 is now open and invites entries for the Book Prize, Journalism Prize and Blog Prize, first published between 1st January 2010 and 31st December 2010. All entries must have a clear relationship with the UK or Ireland. Full entry details can be found at www.orwellfoundation.com. Jean Seaton, Director of the Orwell Prize, said: ‘In The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell went, documented and so held society to account for the conditions in which people were living. As Britain sets out on an uncharted journey, we need writers and journalists and bloggers doing this more than ever – at home and abroad.’ This year’s longlists will be announced on 30th March 2011 and the shortlists on 26th April 2011. The winners, each of whom will receive £3000, will be announced at an awards ceremony at Church House, Westminster on 18th 17th May 2011. ENDS

Notes to editors

1. The Orwell Prize is Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing. Every year, prizes are awarded to the work – for the book, for the journalism and for the blog – which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. Each Prize is worth £3000. 2. The Prize was founded by the late Professor Sir Bernard Crick in its present form in 1993, awarding its first prizes in 1994. The Media Standards Trust, Political Quarterly and Orwell Trust are partners in running the Prize, through the Council of the Orwell Prize. Richard Blair (Orwell’s son), A. M. Heath and Thomson Reuters are sponsors. 3. For further information, please contact the Administrator, Gavin Freeguard, at gavin.freeguard@mediastandardstrust.org, 0207 229 5722 or 07718 316 059.