Shortlists announced

Friday 19 April 2013

The Orwell Prize, Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing, is supported by the Media Standards Trust, Political Quarterly, AM Heath and Richard Blair (Orwell’s son). The shortlists for the 2013 Orwell Prize were announced on Wednesday evening at The University of Westminster. You can see the full list of six journalists here and seven books here. Each of the shortlisted journalist’s submitted articles are available on our website and extracts from each of the books are now available too. This year’s judging meetings were very lively and full of intelligence. Shortlisted for journalism is Christina Patterson on the state of the NHS, Tom Bergin on corporation tax, Andrew Norfolk on grooming in the North of England, Ian Cobain on British complicity in torture, Jamil Anderlini on corruption in China and Kim Sengupta on conflict. The shortlisted books are Burying the Typewriter, a personal story on childhood in the Romanian surveillance regime, From the Ruins of the Empire on the recent history and evolution of Asia, Occupation Diaries on daily life in Palestine, A Very British Killing a painstakingly detailed account of the death of Baha Mousa, Injustice on the death row trial of Kris Maharaj, Richard Holloway’s memoir Leaving Alexandria and the collection of Marie Colvin’s journalism, On the Front Line. Following the announcement of the shortlist our Director Jean Seaton was joined by Nita May OBE, Julia Farringdon and Tayzar Moe Myint for a rousing discussion on how the changes to censorship laws will impact on freedom of expression in Burma. We will upload footage of the panel soon.

A film on Burma

In February this year the Orwell Prize was fortunate enough to join the Irrawaddy Lit Fest, Burma’s first international literary festival, with panels and Orwell books. There we spoke to many of the delegates about the significance of George Orwell and the situation in Burma now. We’d like to say thank you to those who donated to our ‘Buy a Book for Burma’ campaign with this little film we made in Yangon.

Nineteen Eighty Four in North Korea?

In this week’s Panorama John Sweeney requests a copy of Orwell’s classic at a North Korean library to no avail. You can watch the full eight day undercover investigation on iPlayer now.

Book your place for The Orwell Prize 2013 ceremony

We’d love to see as many supporters and friends possible for our 20th anniversary prize ceremony. The event will take place on the evening of Wednesday 15th May at Church House by Parliament. Places are limited but you can register free here to join us for the announcement and some celebratory drinks.

From elsewhere: shortlist coverage

  • Late journalist Marie Colvin makes Orwell Prize shortlist, BBC
  • 2013 Orwell prize for books shortlist revealed, The Independent
  • Marie Colvin nominated for Orwell prize, Marie Claire
  • Late war reporter Marie Colvin listed for top UK writing prize, Reuters
  • Marie Colvin Nominated For Posthumous George Orwell Prize For Political Writing, contact
  • Marie Colvin heads shortlist for Orwell Book Prize, Telegraph
  • Shehadeh in contention for second Orwell Prize, Bookseller
  • Book buzz, US Today
  • From the archive

    Tomorrow is the 77th anniversary of Keep the Aspidistra Flying. If you haven’t read it yet, why not start with the first chapter from our website courtesy of Penguin Books.

    The diaries

    Don’t forget our other Orwell Diary blogs: his Wartime Diary, Hop-Picking Diary and The Road to Wigan Pier Diary. You can sign up to our newsletter If you’ve got any suggestions about our website(s), we’d love to hear from you – email us on You can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.