The Orwell Prizes 2019: Longlists announced

Tuesday 07 May 2019

Longlists for four 2019 Orwell Prizes were announced today, including the inaugural Orwell Prize for Political Fiction sponsored by Richard Blair and A. M. Heath, and Orwell Prize for Political Writing lists, marking the 70th anniversary of George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Meanwhile, in the Orwell Prize for Journalism and Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils there was a strong showing from local reporting from the UK and Ireland, with nominations for the Dublin Inquirer, Manchester Evening News and Archant’s investigation Unit.

The Orwell Prizes aim to encourage excellence in writing and thinking about politics. Winning entries should strive to meet Orwell’s own ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. They should be of equal excellence in style and content, and the writing must live up to the values of The Orwell Foundation.

The Longlist for the 2019 Prize for Political Fiction is:

  • An American Marriage, Tayari Jones, Oneworld
  • Brother, David Chariandy, Bloomsbury Publishing
  • House of Stone, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, Atlantic Fiction
  • In Our Mad and Furious City, Guy Gunaratne, Tinder Press
  • Ironopolis, Glen James Brown, Parthian Books
  • Milkman, Anna Burns, Faber & Faber
  • Ordinary People, Diana Evans, Chatto & Windus
  • Perfidious Albion, Sam Byers, Faber & Faber
  • Red Clocks, Leni Zumas, The Borough Press
  • Sabrina, Nick Drnaso, Granta
  • Silence is My Mother Tongue, Sulaiman Addonia, The Indigo Press
  • The Ice Migration, Jacqueline Crooks, Pepal Tree Press

The judges for the 2019 Orwell Prize for Political Writing are chair – broadcaster Tom Sutcliffe, Sam Leith, Literary Editor of The Spectator, Desmond Elliott Prize winning author Preti Taneja and Dr. Xine Yao, Lecturer in American Literature to 1900 at University College London.

Chair of judges for the Political Fiction Prize, Tom Sutcliffe said:

I’m delighted with our long-list for the first Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. It’s a list which acknowledges that the politics in a book can often be found between the lines, rather than on them, and that making your voice heard can sometimes be the most political act of all.

The Longlist for the 2019 Prize for Political Writing is: 

  • A Certain Idea of France, Julian Jackson, Allen Lane
  • American Overdose, Chris McGreal, Faber & Faber
  • Bad Girls, Caitlin Davies, John Murray
  • Heimat, Nora Krug, Particular Books
  • Hired, James Bloodworth, Atlantic Books
  • In Extremis, Lindsey Hilsum, Chatto & Windus
  • Moneyland, Oliver Bullough, Profile Books
  • Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, Akala, Two Roads Books
  • Nightmarch: Among India’s Revolutionary Guerrillas, Alpa Shah, Hurst Publishers
  • Our Boys, Helen Parr, Allen Lane
  • Say Nothing: A True Story Of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, Patrick Radden Keefe, William Collins
  • The Growth Delusion, David Pilling, Bloomsbury Publishing
  • The Line Becomes a River, Francisco Cantú, Bodley Head
  • The People vs Tech, Jamie Bartlett, Ebury Press
  • Why We Get The Wrong Politicians, Isabel Hardman, Atlantic Books

The judges for the 2019 Orwell Prize for Political Writing are chair Tulip Siddiq MP, Ted Hodgkinson, Head of Literature and Spoken Word at Southbank Centre, Robbie Millen, Literary Editor at The Times and Helen Pankhurst, author, a women’s rights activist and an international development practitioner.

Tulip Siddiq MP, Chair of judges for the Political Writing Prize remarked:

It has been a privilege to Chair the Judging Panel for this year’s Orwell Prize for Political Writing. The panel has read through so many fantastic submissions and the high quality meant that we had to make some really tough decisions. Congratulations to those who have made the longlist, it is an enormous achievement and reflects on the impact of your work.

The Longlist for the 2019 Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils, sponsored and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, is:

  • ‘Behind County Lines’ by Max Daly, Vice
  • ‘Danger and Despair Inside Britain’s Largest Private Child Care Home Provider’ by Richard Holmes, BuzzFeed News
  • ‘Disabled People and Austerity’ by Frances Ryan, The Guardian
  • ‘Exposed: Hundreds of Homeless Slaves Recruited on British Streets’ by Jane Bradley, BuzzFeed News
  • ‘Exposing the Hostile Environment’ by Nesrine Malik, The Guardian
  • ‘Glasgow Women’s Strike’ by Eve Livingston, The Pool; Vice; The Guardian
  • ‘Gun No.6’ by Zac Beattie, James Newton, Georgina Cammalleri and Rupert Houseman, The Garden Productions
  • ‘How do 11 people go to jail for one murder?’ by Harry Stopes, The Guardian
  • ‘Locked Up for Autism’ by Ian Birrell, the i Newspaper; The Mail on Sunday
  • ‘Rogue Landlords’ by Tom Bristow, Archant Investigations Unit (for Eastern Daily Press)
  • ‘Suicide by Social Media’ by Daniella Scott, Cosmopolitan; the i Newspaper; Radio 4
  • ‘The Presidents Club’ by Madison Marriage, Financial Times
  • ‘The Times – Poverty in Britain’ by Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson, The Times
  • ‘The Truth About Hidden Homelessness’ by Jennifer Williams, Manchester Evening News
  • ‘The Wolves of Instagram’ by Symeon Brown, Channel 4 News; The Guardian
  • ‘Wigan Pier Project’ by Ros Wynne-Jones, The Daily Mirror

The judges for the 2019 Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils are Rosie Millard, Chair of BBC Children in Need,  Sarah O’Connor, a co-winner of the 2018 Prize, Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and the editor of Elle, Farrah Storr.

The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils is named in recognition of the task Joseph Rowntree gave his organization to ‘search out the underlying causes of weakness or evil’ that lay behind Britain’s social problems.

Now in its fifth year, the Prize seeks to reward journalism that has enhanced public understanding of social problems and public policy in the UK today. Previous winners of the Prize include Alison Holt for her reporting of care of the elderly and vulnerable and Nicci Gerrard for her writing about dementia in The Observer.

The Longlist for the 2019 Orwell Prize for Journalism is:

  • Peter Apps, Inside Housing
  • Steve Bloomfield, Prospect
  • Oliver Bullough, The Guardian; The Observer
  • Jason Cowley, The New Statesman; Granta
  • Emily Dugan, BuzzFeed News UK
  • Amelia Gentleman, The Guardian
  • Robert Guest, The Economist
  • Lois Kapila, The Dublin Inquirer
  • James Kirkup, The Spectator
  • Maeve McCleneghan, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
  • Suzanne Moore, The Guardian
  • Peter Oborne, The Daily Mail
  • Sean O’Neill, The Times
  • Kim Sengupta, The Independent

The judges for the 2019 Prize for Journalism are Tim Marshall (journalist, author Prisoners of Geography and Divided: Why We’re Living in an Age of Walls) Sam Taylor (editor, The Lady) and freelance video journalist and founder of The Frontline Club Vaughan Smith.

Shortlists will be revealed later in the month, with the winner of each £3,000 Prize announced at the Orwell Prize Ceremony, Tuesday 25th June 2019, University College London. Each Prize is judged by an independent panel of 3-4 judges. Read about this year’s judges.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Orwell Foundation is a registered charity (1161563) providing free cultural events and resources for the public benefit. Every year, the Foundation awards The Orwell Prizes, Britain’s most prestigious prizes for political writing, to the work which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. There are four Prizes: for Political Fiction, Political Writing, Journalism and Exposing Britain’s Social Evils.
  2. A. M. Heath celebrates its centenary in 2019. Their clients have won innumerable literary prizes, including the Man Booker five times, the Carnegie, the Costa, the Women’s Prize, the Guardian First Book, the Somerset Maugham, the James Tait Black Memorial and the Orwell Prize.
  3. Richard Blair is George Orwell’s (Eric Blair) only son and was adopted by Orwell and his first wife, Eileen, in June 1944. After Eileen’s death in 1945, Richard spent much time on Jura with his father as he worked on his last novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four.  Following his father’s death from tuberculosis at the age of 46 in January 1950, Richard went to live with his aunt, Orwell’s younger sister Avril.  Richard is a trustee of The Orwell Foundation and The Orwell Youth Prize and Patron of The Orwell Society.
  4. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) is an independent social change organisation working to solve UK poverty. Through research, policy, collaboration and practical solutions, we aim to inspire action and change that will create a prosperous UK without poverty.
  5. The Orwell Foundation uses the work of George Orwell to celebrate honest writing and reporting, uncover hidden lives and confront uncomfortable truths. Its aim is to connect with the many constituencies to whom Orwell and his writings are a source of inspiration and to offer a platform for debate and discussion designed to appeal to the widest possible public audience. The Foundation’s partners and sponsors include University College London, the magazine Political Quarterly, Richard Blair, A.M. Heath and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
  6. Since 2016, the Orwell Foundation has been based at UCL, which is also home to the world’s most comprehensive body of research material relating to Orwell, the UNESCO registered George Orwell Archive.
  7. The Orwell Book Prize was founded in 1994; in its 25 year history, fiction has won once. In 2006, the prize was awarded to Delia Jarrett-Macauley for Moses, Citizen and Me (Granta). In 2018, The Orwell Book Prize for Political Writing received 217 entries and The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction received 98 entries