The Orwell Prize Announces Judges and Opens for Entries

Tuesday 28 October 2014


  • 2015 Prize opens for entries
  • Prestigious new reporting prize announced, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, for exposing Britain’s social evils
  • New Orwell/JRF prize to be judged by Anushka Asthana, Richard Sambrook, Nicholas Timmins, Julia Unwin
  • Book prize to be judged by Claire Armitstead, Gillian Slovo, and Tony Wright
  • Journalism prize to be judged by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Stewart Purvis, and Caroline Thomson


The Orwell Prize 2015 was launched on the evening of Thursday 23 October, at a debate at the Frontline Club. There will be three 2015 prizes awarded: the book prize, the journalism prize, and a new prize for ‘exposing Britain’s social evils’ (supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation). The director of the Orwell Prize, Professor Jean Seaton, said that “understanding the deeper forces of politics is crucial. The Orwell Prize 2015 will spark political debate in the run up to the election”. The launch of the Prize was followed by a debate between Alan Johnson MP (winner of the Orwell Prize 2014) and David Davies MP. The former Labour Home Secretary and former Conservative leadership candidate spoke about how political beliefs are formed by one’s upbringing and childhood, and shaped each of their life histories. The 2015 Orwell Book Prize judges are: Claire Armitstead (Guardian Books Editor), Tony Wright (academic, writer, and former MP), and Gillian Slovo (author and former president of English PEN). The 2015 Orwell Journalism Prize judges are: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (journalist and author, winner of the Orwell Prize 2002), Caroline Thomson (Executive Director of English National Ballet, Chair of Digital UK, former COO of the BBC), and Stewart Purvis (Professor of TV Journalism at City University). The 2015 Orwell Prize for ‘exposing Britain’s social evils’ judges are: Anushka Asthana (Political Correspondent at Sky News), Julia Unwin (Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation), Nicholas Timmins (author, journalist, senior fellow at the Institute for Government and the King’s Fund), and Richard Sambrook (Professor of Journalism and Director of the Centre for Journalism, Cardiff University; former Director of Global News, BBC). The Orwell Prize for ‘exposing Britain’s social evils’, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, will reward original, innovate, and insightful reporting on social issues in the UK. Rewarding a new trend in journalism, the prize welcomes reporting that extends the reach of traditional media, and enhances the public understanding of social problems and public policy. Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “Named in recognition of the task Joseph Rowntree gave his organisation; ‘to search out the underlying causes of weakness or evil’ that lay behind Britain’s social problems, this new prize will reward insightful and impactful journalism in social affairs. From modern day slavery to brutal housing conditions, we want to expose contemporary social issues faced in Britain today – outstanding multi-channel journalism is critical to this and we want to encourage more of it.” The prize requires entries be communicated across at least two of the following platforms: journalistic writing, video content, audio content, social media, or photojournalism. The Orwell Prize 2015 is for work published in 2014, and will close for entries on 15 January 2015. Full entry details can be found on the Orwell Prize website. All entries must have a clear relationship with the UK or Ireland, and there is no charge at any point to enter any of the Prizes. This year’s longlists will be announced on 25 March 2015, and the shortlists will be announced on 22 April. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 21 May 2015. The prizes are awarded to the work which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. Each winner receives £3000 and a trophy commissioned by students at Goldsmiths, University of London. The Orwell Prize is run in partnership with the Media Standards Trust and supported by Political Quarterly, Richard Blair, AM Heath, the Media Standards Trust and Joseph Rowntree Foundation.