Orwell Prize 2020 winners revealed

Thursday 09 July 2020

The winners of The Orwell Prizes were announced today, 9th July 2020, in a special ‘Telescreen’ Prize Ceremony on the Orwell Foundation’s YouTube channel and on Times Radio. The Prizes, which aim to encourage good writing and thinking about politics, are awarded by the judges to the work published in the previous calendar year which best meet’s George Orwell’s own ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’.

  • The winner of The Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2020 is Kate Clanchy for her book Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me (Picador).
  • The winner of the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction 2020, sponsored by Richard Blair and A. M. Heath, is The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Fleet).
  • The winner of this year’s Orwell Prize for Journalism is Janice Turner (The Times) for her columns on human trafficking and the fall of Labour’s ‘red wall’, as well as a feature on clearing her childhood home in Doncaster. “If there was one piece out of the more than four hundred that we read which was art and politics weaved together in a journalistic tapestry,” Chair of Judges Ben Fenton said, “it was Janice Turner’s account of clearing her parents’ home after her mother went into care.”
  • This winner of the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils, sponsored and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, is Ian Birrell (Freelance: Mail on Sunday, i News, Tortoise Media) for his searing investigation into the abuse of vulnerable people within the healthcare system, raising far-reaching questions over their human rights. Speaking on Chair of Judges Iain Dale’s LBC radio show, Birrell lamented the lack of action to address the injustices he had exposed.

Each Prize is worth £3,000 to the winners, who will also receive a special copy of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, signed by his son Richard Blair, to mark the book’s 75th anniversary this August. The Orwell Prizes return at the end of the month, when we’ll be publishing the winners of this year’s Orwell Youth Prize for young writers. Over a thousand young people across the country have submitted their writing – poems, essays and stories – on the theme ‘the future we want’.

Read more about our winners and prizes on the Foundation newsletter

Watch the Orwell Prize ‘Telescreen’ Ceremony, featuring acceptance speeches from winners Clanchy and Whitehead plus an exclusive interview with George Orwell’s son, Richard Blair