This year’s entries

Friday 10 February 2012

Here’s your reading list for the next few months: we’ve published a full list of entries for the Orwell Prize 2012. Yet again, we’ve received a record number of submissions for each Prize, with 263 264 books140 journalists and 226 bloggers put forward. More details – and links – can be found on the Book Prize 2012Journalism Prize 2012 and Blog Prize 2012 entry pages.

Job advert: Orwell Prize administrator

We’re advertising for a new Orwell Prize administrator. The current deputy director, Gavin Freeguard, will be leaving the Prize and the Media Standards Trust (which administers the Prize on behalf of the Council of the Orwell Prize) at the beginning of March. He has been responsible for running the Prize since November 2007. You can find the advert on the w4mp website, on the Orwell Prize website, and on the Media Standards Trust website.

Christopher Hitchens on Animal Farm

The Prize is privileged to be able to give you an exclusive extract of an introduction to Animal Farm by the late Christopher Hitchens. Thanks to publishers Harvill Secker, you can – for a limited time – read Christopher’s thoughts on the publication, and the afterlife, of Orwell’s classic, on our website.

Nineteen Eighty-Four at Foyles

The Foyles Café at Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road is currently exhibiting some of Aleks Krotoski’s photographs inspired by Nineteen Eighty-Four. Aleks spent just over a year telling the first 369 words of the novel, one word at a time, in photographs. You can see the full set of images on her Flickr stream, and you can buy some of the images via her online storeMore on the novel on our site.


Nightjack (or properly, Jack Night, blogging at ‘Nightjack: An English Detective’) was the winner of the first Orwell Prize for Blogs, in 2009. A few weeks later, he was revealed by The Times to be Richard Horton, after Lord Justice Eady refused an injunction to protect Nightjack’s identity. The case has been revisited during the course of the Leveson Inquiry on press ethics, with evidence suggesting that Nightjack’s identity was exposed as a result of email hacking by a Times reporter. The police are now investigating, and this Wednesday’s Times carried ‘Times Editor James Harding apologises for email hacking’ (£)Times carried ‘Times Editor James Harding apologises for email hacking’ (£) on its front page. Former Orwell Prize judge, David Allen Green (shortlisted by Richard when he judged the Blog Prize 2010, and who discussed political blogging with him at our 2011 longlist debate) has written about the case here and here (Jack of Kent), and herehereherehere and here (New Statesman).

At the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival 2012

We’ll be at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival for a fifth year, with three events. Click on the event titles for full details, to book and to read some relevant Orwell essays:

  • Homage to Catalonia: the Spanish Civil War, 2pm, Friday 30 March: Helen Graham, Paul Preston, Francisco Romero Salvado, chaired by Jean Seaton
  • The Road to Wigan Pier: 75 years on, 6.30pm, Saturday 31 March: Stephen Armstrong, Beatrix Campbell, Juliet Gardiner, Paul Mason, chaired by D. J. Taylor
  • Politics and the Press, 4pm, Sunday 1 April: Gaby Hinsliff, Martin Moore, Lance Price, chaired by Jean Seaton

From the archive

Fans around the world celebrated the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth on 7 February. On our website, we have Orwell’s famous essay, ‘Charles Dickens’ (originally published in 1940, along with ‘Inside the Whale’ and ‘Boys’ Weeklies’). We’ve also used the essay as a happy excuse for a couple of debates  on Orwell vs Dickens, both of which you can watch video of: Francine Stock, Jenny Hartley, Philip Hensher, Hardeep Singh Kohli and Jean Seaton in Oxford, 2009; and Dame Janet Smith, David Aaronovitch, Lucinda Hawksley, Michael Slater and DJ Taylor in Buxton, 2010. There have been a number of Orwell publication anniversaries over the last few weeks, too. ‘Books vs. Cigarettes’ was first published on 8 February 1946. ‘The Moon Under Water’, on Orwell’s perfect pub, was first published on 9 February 1946 (the late Keith Waterhouse and BBC Radio 4’s Today programme have both considered the essay in the past, while Orwell also wrote a review of Mass Observation’s ‘The Pub and the People’ in 1943). There are a couple of new Orwell essays on poetry on our site. W. B. Yeats died on 28 January 1939 – Orwell wrote an essay on him in 1943 – and you can also read ‘Nonsense Poetry’ from 1945, all about Edward Lear (who died on 29 January 1888). Our section on Orwell’s poetry has poems by Orwell, and some essays by and about him on the subject. Also new to our site recently: Orwell’s ‘Antisemitism in Britain’ (1945) and ‘Reflections on Gandhi’ (1949).

From elsewhere

The Wartime Diaries

The next entry will be published on 14th March. Don’t forget our other Orwell Diary blogs: his Hop-Picking Diary and The Road to Wigan Pier Diary. If you’ve got any suggestions about our website(s), we’d love to hear from you – email us on or follow us on Twitter. And you can subscribe to this newsletter via email.