Orwell Prize statement

Sunday 18 November 2012

Over the past few days articles have been published in the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Times which make inaccurate statements about the Orwell Prize. The judging process of the Orwell Prize is entirely independent and the decisions regarding longlists, shortlists and winners are made by the judges alone. The Orwell Prize rewards work that comes closest to Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. Political is defined in the widest sense and is inclusive of all party politics. You can see a full list of Orwell Prize winners here. Among which are writers and journalists who contribute regularly to the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday – including Melanie Phillips, Peter Hitchens and Toby Harnden. Johann Hari was awarded the Orwell Prize for journalism in 2008. In 2011, when allegations were made about Hari’s journalism, the Orwell Prize was the only award – of a number given to Hari – that chose to investigate. Following this investigation it withdrew the award from Hari. No other prize investigated or withdrew its award. Details of the Johann Hari affair, as the story developed last summer, can be found on our website.