Video from the Oxford Literary Festival

Friday 08 April 2011

We took two events to this year’s Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival, and videos of both are now available on our website and YouTube Channel.

On Sunday, we held an Orwell vs Kipling debate, 75 years after Kipling’s death. Orwell wrote a brief obituary and a much longer essay on Kipling, and paid homage to him on his journey to Wigan Pier. Paul Anderson (journalist, editor of Orwell in Tribune) and Sarah Bakewell (Orwell fan, award-winning author of How to Live: A Life of Montaigne) argued for Orwell, against Charles Allen (Orwell Prize-longlisted for Kipling, Sahib) and Andrew Lycett (biographer, author of Rudyard Kipling and editor of Kipling Abroad) for Kipling. You can watch the very entertaining debate by clicking here.
On Tuesday, Sir Mark Jones (director of the V&A Museum) and Karen Freyer (managing director of New Deal of the Mind) answered the question, ‘does it make a difference who funds the arts?’, chaired by our director, Jean Seaton. Video of the wide-ranging discussion can be found here.

Orwell Prize 2011: Longlist and Shortlist

The video of the announcement – and of a great discussion about blogging, with former winner Jack Night (Richard Horton, judge of last year’s Blog Prize) and previously shortlisted Jack of Kent (David Allen Green, one of this year’s Blog Prize judges) – is now online, on our website and YouTube Channel.
Full details of this year’s longlists are on our website, including links to all of the longlisted journalism and blogposts, and extracts from some of the longlisted books (with more to follow).
The shortlists will be announced at a debate, ‘is it time to make monarchy history?’, hosted by Thomson Reuters on 26th April 2011 (drinks from 6.30, announcement and debate from 7). Full details to come shortly, but if you’d like to reserve a place, email

London Word Festival

This Tuesday 12th April, the excellent London Word Festival are organising an event inspired by Orwell’s Books vs Cigarettes (featuring Robin Ince, Stuart Evers, John-Luke Roberts, Matthew Crosby, Joanna Neary, Rich Sandling, Martin Austwick and Ben Moor). Starting at 7pm at Dalston Boys’ Club, the event will also have:

From the archive

Given that we’ve been in Oxford this week with Orwell vs Kipling, it might be worth revisiting some of our previous Orwell-related events at the festival. Last year, biographers D. J. Taylor and Paula Byrne looked at the differences and similarities between Orwell and Evelyn Waugh, while in 2009 Taylor interviewed Orwell’s son, Richard Blair. 2009 also saw the first of our Orwell vs Dickens debates, featuring Philip Hensher, Jenny Hartley, Jean Seaton and Hardeep Singh Kohli, chaired by Francine Stock. Our second Orwell vs Dickens pitted Davids Aaronovitch and Taylor against Lucinda Hawksley and Michael Slater, chaired by Dame Janet Smith at the Buxton Festival 2010.

From elsewhere

The Wigan Pier Diaries

The final entry was published on 25th March.
In addition to the blog, we have a Google Map tracking Orwell’s journey, a flickr set of archive images, and our page on The Road to Wigan Pier, with the first chapter and other links.

The Wartime Diaries

This week, entries were published on 7th and 8th April.
Over the next week, entries will be published on 9th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th April. 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.