Thursday 16 March 2023
The Orwell Foundation is extending the deadline of the Orwell Prize for Reporting Homelessness 2023 to 17th April 2023. The Foundation is also launching a new podcast to accompany the prize, Down, Not Out, which is being produced in partnership with sponsors the Centre for Homelessness Impact and the Prison Radio Association and will be available on podcast platforms ahead of the new prize deadline.
Hosted by judge Sangita Myska alongside contributors including journalist Stephen Armstrong (author of The Road to Wigan Pier Revisited) and former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, Down, Not Out models the Foundation’s hopes for the new prize by using Orwell’s iconic writing as a way into difficult and enlightening conversations about homelessness today in all its forms.
The deadline for entry to the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2023 and the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils 2023 remains unchanged (31st March 2023).
About the Orwell Prize for Reporting Homelessness
Inspired by George Orwell’s own iconic writing and reporting, the Orwell Prize for Reporting Homelessness 2023 will be awarded to reporting and/or commentary on homelessness. Entries are encouraged from people who are experiencing or have experienced homelessness in all its forms, as well as journalists shining a light on homelessness today.
The prize will recognise work first created or published between 1st April 2021 and 17th April 2023. The winner, who will receive a cash prize, will be announced at the Orwell Festival in London in June 2022, following the publication of a shortlist of eight to ten finalists in May. Entries can take any form, from journalism and video diaries to creative writing.
The Prize will be chaired by journalist and editor Alan Rusbridger. Alan is joined by an expert panel including John Bird MBE, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Big Issue magazine, Leanna Fairfax, Evidence and Data Associate at the Centre for Homelessness Impact, and award-winning journalist, podcast, radio and TV presenter Sangita Myska.
In Down and Out in Paris and London (1933) George Orwell portrays the people he meets, living in filthy, bug-ridden boarding houses and on the streets of Paris and London, as victims of circumstance, not culpable for their own misfortune or wretchedness. It is this spirit of writing that the Prize for Reporting Homelessness will recognise and reward.
We want the new Prize to celebrate evidence-led reporting and to focus attention on simple questions such as What does homelessness look like in contemporary Britain? Why do we still have hundreds of thousands of people affected despite decades of efforts to eradicate it? What do we know of what works to prevent people from falling into homelessness or to help them once they do? Is there any new thinking that evidence suggests may yield better results than current approaches?
Orwell believed that the way in which an issue was described was as important as the topic itself. Evidence shows that in modern writing about homelessness, stigma and stereotypes appear so frequently that they present a real barrier to understanding. Our judges will look out for language that avoids implications of blame for the circumstances in which people find themselves.
2023 is the ninetieth anniversary year of the publication of George Orwell’s classic memoir Down and Out in Paris and London. Orwell’s vivid reportage combined evidence with empathy. Crucially, he wrote about those on the receiving end of injustice with respect and dignity.
Ninety years on, the Orwell Foundation and the Centre for Homelessness Impact want this new prize to recognise reporting which stays true to Orwell’s spirit, while also shining a light on new contemporary forms of homelessness including temporary and precarious housing, sofa surfing and beds in sheds as well as rough sleeping and hostel-dwelling.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
- The Orwell Prize for Reporting Homelessness will consider entries exposing all forms of homelessness, including hidden homelessness.
- The Orwell Prize for Reporting Homelessness (‘the Prize’) is awarded annually.
- The Prize, awarded in June 2023 (the 2023 Prize) will recognise work first created or published between 1st April 2021 and 17th April 2023. The previous deadline for entry to the Orwell Prize for Homelessness was 31st March 2023.
- It is named in memory of George Orwell, the British journalist, novelist and essayist.
- The Prize is sponsored by the Centre for Homelessness Impact, an independent organisation which seeks to act as a catalyst for evidence-led change to enable people working in and around homelessness to achieve breakthrough results.
- The Orwell Prize for Reporting Homelessness is awarded for evidence-led reportage and/or commentary on homelessness. Entries will be encouraged from people who are experiencing or have experienced all forms of homelessness as well as journalists writing about homelessness. The winning entry should strive to meet Orwell’s own ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. The work should be of equal excellence in style and content and live up to the values of The Orwell Foundation
- The Orwell Prize for Reporting Homelessness is worth £3000 (cash prize) to the winner.
- Items may be in any medium, such as written journalism or creative writing, video and audio content including video diaries, photojournalism (which must include text as well as photos) and social media content. Transcripts of audio or video work will not be required. Books are not eligible for the Orwell Prize for Reporting Homelessness.
- For further info or to arrange an interview/coverage: firstname.lastname@example.org