The Orwell Prize 2015 Winners

Friday 22 May 2015

Winners announced for the Orwell Prize 2015

  • James Meek’s PRIVATE ISLAND wins the Orwell Prize for Books
  • The Guardian’s Middle East reporter Martin Chulov wins Journalism Prize for work on Islamic State
  • Alison Holt of BBC wins new Joseph Rowntree Foundation-sponsored Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils

The winners of the Orwell Prize 2015, Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing, were announced today. The prizes reward the writing that comes closest to achieving Orwell’s ambition to ‘make political writing an art’. The winners of the £3000 prizes were announced at a ceremony in Fyvie Hall at the University of Westminster, having been chosen from hundreds of entries. Richard Blair, George Orwell’s son, presented each winner with a trophy made specially by Goldsmiths College student Keir Middleton.   James Meek’s PRIVATE ISLAND wins the Orwell Prize for Books Gillian Slovo, a judge for the Book Prize, said of Private Island, “As a jury we applied the ‘Orwell test’ – making political writing into an art – and decided that this is what James Meek has done. He has not written a polemic or an ideological tract, but a careful and elegant exploration of what exactly privatisation has produced in our country. Political writing in Orwell’s tradition, and a prize by which to recognise it, has never been more needed.” The judges for the book prize were Claire Armitstead, Gillian Slovo, and Tony Wright.   Martin Chulov (The Guardian) wins the Orwell Prize for Journalism Caroline Thomson said of Martin Chulov, “Due to the very high quality and variety of the entries, this was a very difficult prize to judge. Chulov stood out for telling us something we didn’t know about what was going on in the Middle East, with insightful analysis based on great stories. It is work like this that prevents one of the most important stories of our time from being dangerously neglected. It was therefore a unanimous decision to award the prize to him.” Links to the articles that won are available on our website, The judges for the journalism prize were Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Stewart Purvis, and Caroline Thomson.   Alison Holt (BBC) wins the Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils Nick Timmins said of Alison Holt, “Alison Holt’s searing Panorama about the treatment of the elderly and vulnerable in care homes, the product of secret filming by a family but also of some great reporting, was truly harrowing. But it was also superbly balanced, to the point where one could almost feel sympathy for those who were eventually convicted for what they had done. It painted a picture not just of the evil that had happened but of the one of the key challenges and dilemmas we face as the population ages.” The judges for the Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils were Anushka Asthana, Richard Sambrook, Nick Timmins, and Julia Unwin. The Prize for Exposing Social Evils is sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.