Orwell’s Hop-Picking Diary Blog

Friday 26 August 2011

We’re publishing George Orwell’s hop-picking diary, from August to October 1931, as a blog at http://hoppicking.wordpress.com. Each diary entry will be published as a blogpost, 80 years to the day after it was originally written. The blog joins our other diary blogs, from 1938-42 and from Orwell’s journey to Wigan Pier. The diary follows Orwell’s tramping adventures in London and hop-picking adventures in Kent, hop-picking being a tradition where urban workers would head to the countryside to harvest hops (a key ingredient of beer). As well as the blog itself, we have Orwell’s essay based on the diary, his notes on slang that he kept during his journey, a Google Map of his progress, a note on the text and a bit more about the project. There are also lots of links to other hop-picking resources in the sidebar on the blog.

Orwell Prize at Cheltenham

We’ll be taking events to The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival for the first time on the 15th and 16th October. On Saturday 15th, Shiv Malik and Owen Jones will be talking about ‘Victorian Values’ and the return of the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor to public debate. On Sunday 16th, Orwell Prize winner Graeme Archer and previously longlisted Oliver Kamm will be talking about ‘The Political Network’ and the future of political blogging.

From the archive

With the launch of our hop-picking blog, it’s timely to look at some of Orwell’s other work on hop-picking and tramping. As well as Orwell’s essay based on his hop-picking diary, we have ‘How the Poor Die’ about Orwell’s time in Paris, as well as the first chapters of Down and Out in Paris and London and A Clergyman’s Daughter. On our website, there’s also a 1920 letter from a 17-year old Orwell on his first tramping experience (‘I am very proud of this adventure, but I would not repeat it’) and a poem set in a kip, ‘A dressed man and a naked man’ (part of our section on Orwell’s poetry). Peter Davison, editor extraordinaire of Orwell’s works (including the Complete Works) will be speaking at the Marlborough Literature Festival on 23rd September. You can watch Peter talking about Orwell at last year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival or talking to our director, Jean Seaton, about the recent Orwell: A Life in Letters, or read plenty more by Peter on our site.

From elsewhere

The Wartime Diaries

The next entry will be published on 28th August.

The Hop-Picking Diaries

Over the next week, entries will be published on 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th August.

The Wigan Pier Diaries

The final entry was published on 25th March. In addition to the blog, we have a Google Map tracking Orwell’s journey, a flickr set of archive images, and our page on The Road to Wigan Pier, with the first chapter and other links. If you’ve got any suggestions about our website(s), we’d love to hear from you – email us on gavin.freeguard@mediastandardstrust.org or follow us on Twitter. And you can subscribe to this newsletter via email.