The Orwell Prizes 2024: Finalists announced

Thursday 23 May 2024

What I have most wanted to do… is to make political writing into an art.”

We are excited to announce the finalists for the 2024 Orwell Prizes across four categories: Political Writing, Political Fiction, Journalism and Reporting Homelessness. The winners in each category will be announced at the Prize Ceremony on 27th June 2024.

The Orwell Prizes aim to encourage good writing and thinking about politics. The winning entries should strive to meet Orwell’s own ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. They should be of equal excellence in style and content – the writing must be both political and artful. Judges are appointed each year, with a separate panel for each prize.

Below you can find the lists in full alongside reflections from our judges; click here to find out more about the books, journalism and reporting nominated for this year’s awards; subscribe on Substack to read the shortlist interviews; and head to The Orwell Festival (London, 12-27 June 2024) website to book a place at one of this year’s shortlist readings and browse our other exciting events.

Friends of the Foundation receive exclusive benefits, including a copy of The Orwell Prize Anthology 2024, which this year features the judges’ selection of the best new writing submitted for The Orwell Prize for Reporting Homelessness, alongside extracts from all our winners.

The Orwell Prize for Political Writing
sponsored by The Political Quarterly

Peter Frankopan, Chair of Judges, said:

“We’ve been lucky to read an astonishing range of books for this year’s prize – covering a vast set of topics that resonate in a quickly-changing world. Many of the books we have chosen for the shortlist are sure to become modern classics: books that will not just be read this year, but long into the future. All represent cases of outstanding writing; but they also speak to the importance of expert insights, the value of perspective and the power of political commentary. It will not be easy to choose a winner; but we’re proud to have these nine books as our shortlist.”

Eve by Cat Bohannon (Hutchinson Heinemann)
The Achilles Trap by Steve Coll (Allen Lane)
Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad by Daniel Finkelstein (William Collins)
The Picnic by Matthew Longo (Bodley Head)
Revolutionary Acts by Jason Okundaye (Faber)
The Incarcerations by Alpa Shah (William Collins)
We Are Free to Change the World  by Lyndsey Stonebridge (Jonathan Cape)
A Day in the Life of Abed Salama by Nathan Thrall (Allen Lane)
Our Enemies will Vanish by Yaroslav Trofimov (Michael Joseph)


The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction

Alexandra Harris, Chair of Judges, said:

“We’re delighted to present a shortlist that affirms the enormous vitality and variety of political fiction. These books grapple with histories that are always contemporary. They offer magnifying glasses and telescopes. They renew our sense of how radical an act it can be to tell a story, to read a book, or still more to share what we have read – with strangers and with lovers. Every work here is testament to the power of blazing imagination and patient craft in our complex times.”

Ocean Stirrings by Merle Collins (Peepal Tree Press)
James by Percival Everett (Mantle)
Orbital by Samantha Harvey (Jonathan Cape)
My Friends by Hisham Matar (Viking)
Ordinary Human Failings by Megan Nolan (Jonathan Cape)
Caledonian Road by Andrew O’Hagan (Faber)
The Future Future by Adam Thirlwell (Jonathan Cape)
Blackouts by Justin Torres (Granta)

The Orwell Prize for Journalism
sponsored by The Political Quarterly

Janine Gibson, Chair of Judges, said:

“The strength and determination of the writers and broadcasters who entered their work this year shows that journalists who pursue the truth are as dogged and committed as Orwell might have wished. We could have filled this shortlist twice over with as varied and compelling a list again, but we are proud to shine the spotlight on these extraordinary writers tackling important subjects with style, precision and urgency.”

Heidi Blake, The New Yorker
Antonia Cundy, Financial Times
Sophie Elmhirst, The Guardian, The Economist, Audible
James Meek, London Review of Books
Nicolas Pelham, 1843 Magazine
David Pilling, Financial Times
Kavita Puri with Ant Adeane and Emma Rippon, BBC R4 and BBC World Service
Daniel De Simone, BBC News
Wendell Steavenson, 1843 Magazine


The Orwell Prize for Reporting Homelessness
sponsored by Centre for Homelessness Impact

Paddy O’Connell, Chair of Judges said:

“This is Britain. As entrants, you collectively took us onto the streets and into precarious, temporary and often substandard accommodation. Our eight finalists all artfully and expertly brought human stories to bear on the wider picture – congratulations to every one of them. And to everyone who entered, thank you. We as judges have read and taken on board each piece: everyone has been seen. Now, it’s up to us to make sure you are heard.”

Holly Bancroft, The Independent
Catherine Hay, Debbie Cuthbert, Karl Brown, David Winter and Stuart Potts for Unheard Voices
Daniel Hewitt with Imogen Barrrer and Mariah Cooper, ITV News
Hannah Silva,  A Single Parent Flat Hunting on Universal Credit
Vicky Spratt, The i Paper
Liam Thorp, Liverpool Echo
David Tovey, Arts and Homeless International
Kwajo Tweneboa, The Daily Mirror and Instagram

The Orwell Prize for Reporting Homelessness was launched in 2023 in partnership with the Centre for Homelessness Impact and the inaugural winners were Daniel Lavelle and Freya Marshall Payne. The prize celebrates the art of evidence-led storytelling, accurate investigation, and innovative policy reporting, amplifies the voices of people with lived-experience and rewards the range of reporting, to explore homelessness in all its forms.