Wednesday 24 October 2012
In its 20th year the Orwell Prize is retracing Orwell’s steps. We will be participating in in Wigan based writing project for youths and for the first time ever we are going abroad: to Burma. In 1922 Orwell was posted as a police officer for the British Imperial Service in Burma. He stayed five years and wrote ‘The Hanging’ and ‘Shooting an Elephant’. It was a formative experience and the inspiration for Orwell’s first novel, Burmese Days. We have been asked to help the Irrawaddy Literary Festival – the very first English language Burmese literary festival. The Irrawaddy Festival’s patron, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, says: “Literature has always been a big part of my life and I hope this festival, which brings together some of the finest talent from Burma, the UK and elsewhere will encourage more people to explore the world of literature and further their understanding of the English language.” We will be running events on censorship, journalism and writing at the festival – always working with local voices. We are also taking Orwell’s writing to Burma where it is revered but unavailable. Today we have launched the ‘Buy a book for Burma’ appeal. Donors may nominate to send one of Orwell’s three classic novels, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm and Burmese Days, to the festival. Director of The Orwell Prize, Jean Seaton says; “Being asked to help at the first literary festival in Burma was impossible to refuse. Orwell would have wanted us to take something back to a place that he owed so much to is a very demanding exciting development for the prize as we wait expectantly for the entries to flood in. Orwell’s values of integrity, realism and clarity have never seemed more appropriate – both at home and abroad.” You can by a book for Burma by visiting our justgiving page. ENDS 1. The Orwell Prize is Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing. Every year, prizes are awarded to the work – for the book and for the journalism – which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. 2. The Prize was founded by the late Professor Sir Bernard Crick in its present form in 1993, awarding its first prizes in 1994. The Media Standards Trust, Political Quarterly and Orwell Trust are partners in running the Prize, through the Council of the Orwell Prize. Richard Blair (Orwell’s son) is a sponsor, with support from A. M. Heath. 4. For further information, please contact the Operations Manager, Katriona Lewis, at email@example.com, or on 0207 229 5722.