Succession’s Jesse Armstrong and acclaimed journalist Gary Younge headline Orwell Festival 2023

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Bloomsbury, London and online | 6th June – 22nd June 2023

The Orwell Festival is returning this June with highlights announced today including an opening lecture from acclaimed journalist and author Gary Younge and an evening with Jesse Armstrong, creator of the hit satirical drama Succession, in conversation Geoff Lloyd and Sara Barron, the hosts of spin-off podcast Firecrotch and Normcore.

We are now open for booking via our website – with more announcements to follow.

With the launch of our brand-new Friends scheme, it has never been easier to support our work – Friends of the Orwell Foundation also receive two complimentary tickets, which can be claimed on the Orwell Festival website.

Celebrating the best political writing and thinking

In addition to our headline events, this year’s Orwell Festival is built around two strands which together celebrate and spotlight the best political writing and thinking, past, present and future.

Inspired by Orwell’s pioneering social reporting, the Future of… series will ask leading writers, reporters and politicians to assess the prospects of some of the biggest issues facing the country today. Confirmed panels for the series, which is being hosted by the UCL Policy Lab, include ‘The Future of the NHS’ with Camilla Cavendish and Annabel Sowemimo, ‘The Future of Housing’ with journalists Peter Apps and Vicky Spratt and ‘The Future of Public Service Broadcasting’ with Jon Sopel (The News Agents) and Kevin Brennan MP, with more panels and speakers to be announced, including an event with the Centre for Homelessness Impact.

Our Orwell and… series, meanwhile, will explore George Orwell’s life, work and legacy in a range of compelling contemporary contexts; confirmed events include panels on ‘Orwell and Russia’ and ‘Orwell and Empire’ at Pushkin House, as well as a special event in partnership with the Wiener Holocaust Library on ‘Orwell and Antisemitism’.

About The Orwell Festival

The Orwell Festival is an annual series of events based in Bloomsbury, an area of central London rich with Orwellian associations, and taking in the most important and exciting writing and thinking today. It will culminate on the 22nd of June with the announcement of the winners of the Orwell Prizes – including the new Orwell Prize for Reporting Homelessness, sponsored by the Centre for Homelessness Impact. As far as possible, events will be streamed and recorded.

About The Orwell Foundation

Now in its second year following a successful opening run in 2022, the festival is the latest project from the Orwell Foundation, the UK’s official charity dedicated to promoting the works and values of the author, journalist and essayist George Orwell (1903-1950). In the spirit of Orwell’s fiction, non-fiction and journalism, the Foundation aims to celebrate honest and creative writing and reporting, uncover hidden lives, and confront uncomfortable truths – and, through the Orwell Youth Prize, to nurture the next generation of writers and thinkers.

We take seriously Orwell’s injunction that if ‘Liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’ The Orwell Festival aims to be a space for difficult debate and diversity of opinion and perspectives, to encourage creativity and clarity of expression, to provide a platform for unheard voices and to defend the right to individual conscience – whilst remaining politically impartial.

Alongside our Festival partners the Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL Policy Lab, Pushkin House and The Wiener Holocaust Library, the Orwell Festival would not be possible without the support of our core sponsors, The Political Quarterly, our Founder Patron, Richard Blair, prize sponsors the Centre for Homelessness Impact or our growing community of supporters. Visit our website for more information about all prizes, programmes and events and to find out more about how you can support our work.