Friday 18 May 2018
The shortlists for The Orwell Prize 2018, Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing, were announced tonight at the Bath Festival during The Orwell Prize Debate, which featured this year’s chair of judges for the book prize, politician, academic and journalist Andrew Adonis.
Following a year in which Orwell’s name has returned to the heart of political discourse, The Orwell Prize judges for Books, Journalism and the Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils choose their most compelling examples of political writing of 2017.
- Book Prize judge Lorien Kite said: ‘Brexit, immigration, revolution, gender, poverty, the Middle East – the dominant themes were always clear but so too was the range of approaches deployed by this year’s Orwell Prize entries… six titles that succeed in quite different ways and together illustrate the vigour and variety of political writing in our tumultuous times.’
- Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils judge Farrah Storr said: ‘This has been a momentous year of change, one in which we rely more than ever on our best journalists to seek out the truth and present it back to the world. This year’s shortlisted candidates have not only done that but in the process have created works of journalism that are as brilliant and brave as they are beautifully crafted. Orwell would have approved.’
- Chair of Journalism Prize judges David Bell was thrilled with the‘fine cross-section of the best of British journalism’ and Elinor Goodman ‘was humbled by the quality of the writing on the shortlist and the way the finalists tackled some of the most important issues facing society at the moment’
The Orwell Prize for Books 2018 shortlist is:
- The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle Between Faith and Reason, Christopher de Bellaigue (Bodley Head) “An absorbing account of the political and social reformations that transformed the lands of Islam in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”
- Testosterone Rex, Cordelia Fine (Icon Books) “A examination of why present sex roles are only serving suggestions for the future. It reveals a much more dynamic situation through an entertaining and well-documented exploration of the latest research that draws on evolutionary science, psychology, neuroscience, endocrinology, and philosophy.”
- What You Did Not Tell, Mark Mazower (Allen Lane) “In the centenary of the Russian Revolution, What You Did Not Tell recounts a brand of socialism erased from memory – humanistic, impassioned, and broad-ranging in its sympathies. But it also explores the unexpected happiness that may await history’s losers, the power of friendship, and the love of place.”
- Poverty Safari, Darren McGarvey (Luath Press Ltd) “People from deprived communities all across Britain feel misunderstood and unheard. Darren McGarvey, aka Loki, gives voice to their feelings and concerns, and anger that is spilling over.”
- Winter, Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton) “In the second novel in her seasonal cycle, Smith’s shape-shifting quartet of novels casts a merry eye over a bleak post-truth era with a story rooted in history, memory and warmth, its taproot deep in the evergreens: art, love, laughter.”
- Lovers and Strangers: An Immigrant History of Post-War Britain, Clair Wills (Allen Lane) “Clair Wills’ book brings to life the incredible diversity and strangeness of the migrant experience. She introduces us to lovers, scroungers, dancers, homeowners, teachers, drinkers, carers and many more to show the opportunities and excitement as much as the humiliation and poverty that could be part of the new arrivals’ experience.”
The judges of The Orwell Prize for Books 2018 are Andrew Adonis, Literary journalist and Artistic Director of Words and Literature at the Bath Festival Alex Clark, novelist Kit de Waal and Deputy Life & Arts Editor for the Financial Times, Lorien Kite. Previous winners of The Orwell Prize for Books include John Bew (2017), Raja Shehadeh (2008), Alan Johnson (2014) and Andrea Gillies (2010).
The shortlist for the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2018 is:
- Carole Cadwalladr (The Observer)
- Edward Carr (The Economist)
- Sam Knight (The New Yorker, The Guardian)
- Anthony Loyd (The Times)
- Jack Shenker (Huff Post, Granta, New York Times)
- Janice Turner (The Times)
Entrants are asked to submit three pieces of writing, which may be from one or more publications, and are listed above alongside the publications in their submissions. The judges for the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2018 are David Bell, Suzanne Franks, Elinor Goodman and Rachel Johnson.
Chair of Judges David Bell said:
‘We had a great set of pieces to judge. Orwell would have been very impressed and reassured, as we were, by their very high quality. I only wish we had had more tabloid entries. Pieces on the shortlist ranged from Tilbury as a ‘Brexit parable’ to the Rohinga – a fine cross-section of the best of British journalism.’
The shortlist for The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils 2018, sponsored and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation is:
- Her Name Was Lindy | Andy Davies, Anja Popp, Dai Baker (Channel 4 News)
- On the Edge | Sarah O’Connor, John Burn-Murdoch and Christopher Nunn (Financial Times)
- Behind Locked Doors | Joe Plomin (BBC Panorama)
- This Man Had His Leg Broken in Four Places Because He Is Gay | Patrick Strudwick (BuzzFeed)
- Four young black men die: were they killed by the police? | Mark Townsend (The Observer)
- Spice | Jennifer Williams (Manchester Evening News)
The stories on the shortlist cover issues ranging from abuse in an Immigration Removal Centre to the phenomenon of “Shit Life Syndrome” among people left behind by the modern economy in Blackpool.
The judges for The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils 2018 are Campbell Robb, CEO of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Farrah Storr, Editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, winner of the 2017 Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils Felicity Lawrence and Nicholas Timmins, Senior Fellow at the King’s Fund.
The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils supports and encourages original, insightful and impactful reporting on social issues in the UK. The Prize rewards multi-media stories which are reported across one or more platform, including reporting via social media, audio (including podcasts), video, photojournalism and journalistic writing.
Farrah Storr said:
‘This has been a momentous year of change, one in which we rely more than ever on our best journalists to seek out the truth and present it back to the world. This year’s shortlisted candidates have not only done that but in the process have created works of journalism that are as brilliant and brave as they are beautifully crafted. Orwell would have approved.’
Of the Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils shortlist, Nicholas Timmins said:
‘Its range includes ice-cold analysis, persistent digging, shocking television, and powerful local reporting, with words and pictures that manage, all at the same time, to horrify, move and inspire.’
The winners of each £3,000 prize will be announced at an event on 25th June (George Orwell’s 115th birthday) at the RSA.
For further information please see www.orwellfoundation.com, and on Twitter @TheOrwellPrize. Read the full press releases here:
- EMBARGOED 19.15 Friday 18th May Shortlist 2018 Books
- EMBARGOED 19.15 Friday 19th May Shortlist Exposing Britain’s Social Evils
- EMBARGOED 19.15 Friday 18th May Shortlist 2018 Journalism