Scotland and St. Andrew’s Day

Friday 02 December 2011

It was St. Andrew’s Day this Wednesday, and we’ve got some great articles on Orwell and Scotland in the archive. First, though, there’s Orwell’s poem, ‘St. Andrew’s Day, 1935’. Originally published in The Adelphi, the poem also appeared in the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying (about which you can read more on our dedicated webpage). And it’s from St. Andrew’s Day, 1921, that we have this piece of video footage, perhaps the only surviving film of Orwell (though this clip from the late 1920s also has a claim, which D. J. Taylor calls ‘very questionable’, though ‘not unlike’). Orwell wrote his masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four on the Scottish island of Jura. Robert McCrum looks at the writing of the novel in this essay for The Observer, while Will Self uses his own visit to the island to talk about Orwell and Jura. And the BBC Archive have a number of letters to and from Orwell about living on and visiting the island.

Entries now open

The Orwell Prize 2012 is now OPEN for entries. Entry forms for all three prize, and basic details of the entry process, are available on our ‘How to Enter’ page. You can also check out the full rules and the values of the Prize, or learn more about the judges. Entries close on 18 January 2012, for all work first published in 2011. The Prize is self-nominating, but if you think there’s someone who should enter, either encourage them to do so or get in touch. Good luck!

From the archive

Harry Mount chose Orwell’s ‘Why I Write’ as one of his top 10 essays for The Guardian this week. You can read it on our website, along with lots of other Orwell essays. Keep an eye on our ‘By Orwell’ page for more… Don’t forget our ‘About Orwell’ page for lots of articles (and videos) by others about Orwell. Today in 1943, the BBC Overseas Service broadcast an edition of ‘Your Questions Answered’ where Orwell was asked, ‘How long is the Wigan Pier & what is the Wigan Pier?’ You can read the transcript on our website, along with the first chapter, research notes and more about The Road to Wigan Pier. Not forgetting, of course, our Road to Wigan Pier diary blog.

From elsewhere

The Wartime Diaries

The next entry will be published on 14th March.

The Hop-Picking Diaries

The final entry was published on 8th October.

The Wigan Pier Diaries

The final entry was published on 25th March. If you’ve got any suggestions about our website(s), we’d love to hear from you – email us on or follow us on Twitter. And you can subscribe to this newsletter via email.