Orwell Prize 2012 Announces Judges, Opens for Entries

Wednesday 09 November 2011

The Orwell Prize 2012 opened for submissions this evening, 9 November 2011, as the judges for this year’s Prizes were announced. This year’s Book Prize judges include Miranda Carter, winner of the Orwell Prize for Books 2002 for Anthony Blunt: His Lives, and author of The Three Emperors; and Sameer Rahim, the assistant books editor of the Telegraph. A third judge will be announced shortly. Judging the Journalism Prize 2012 are Brian Cathcart, winner of the Orwell Prize for Books 2000 for The Case of Stephen Lawrence, former deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday, professor of journalism at Kingston University and a founder of the Hacked Off campaign; and Ian Hargreaves, professor of digital economy at Cardiff University, former director of BBC News and Current Affairs, former editor of The Independent and the New Statesman, and author of Journalism: A Very Short Introduction. The Blog Prize 2012 judges are journalist Suzanne Moore, who writes for The Guardian and Mail on Sunday (and previously wrote for Marxism Today, The Independent and the New Statesman); and blogger Hopi Sen, shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Blogs 2010 (and longlisted for the 2009 Prize). The announcements were made at a launch debate, ‘Writing the Riots’, at London’s Frontline Club. On the panel were Nicolas Kent (artistic director of the Tricycle Theatre), Paul Lewis (special projects editor of The Guardian, shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2010), Mary Riddell (assistant editor of the Daily Telegraph, shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2008 and 2004) and Alex Wheatle (novelist, author of books including Brixton Rock, East of Acre Lane and Brenton Brown). Entries for the Orwell Prize 2012 will close on Wednesday 18 January 2012, for work published in 2011. Full entry details can be found on the Orwell Prize website. All entries must have a clear relationship with the UK or Ireland, and there is no charge at any point to enter any of the Prizes. For the first time, all three Prizes can be entered using an online entry form. This year’s longlists will be announced on 28 March 2012, with the shortlists being revealed on 25 April 2012. The winners of the Orwell Prizes 2012 will be announced at an awards ceremony at Church House, London, on 23 May 2012. The Prizes are awarded to the work which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. Each winner receives £3000 and a plaque bearing Orwell’s quote. Director of the Prize, Jean Seaton, said: “The riots of the summer meant something; but what? Did they reveal the underside of gentrification (inner cities are mixed communities of impermeable worlds), do they tell us something about fathers or families, or were they just sudden extravaganzas? Our reaction to them (and the policies they have led to) shows us much about journalism, too: was there too much distant pontificating and not enough down on the streets? This year’s Orwell Prize launches on how the meaning of the riots is wrestled with, by writers of all kinds, in the long aftermath.” Deputy director of the Prize, Gavin Freeguard, said: “It’s been an incredible year for news – from the Arab Spring to phone-hacking, and with disasters natural and economic. Has it been an incredible year for political writing? This year’s submissions will hopefully show politics on the page, and politics on the screen, at its very best: making sense of complex debates and catastrophes, and art of political writing.” ENDS 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’. 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) is a sponsor, with support from A. M. Heath. 3. For further information, please contact the Deputy Director, Gavin Freeguard, at gavin.freeguard@mediastandardstrust.org, or on 0207 229 5722.