WINNERS OF THE ORWELL PRIZE 2018

Monday 25 June 2018

The Winners of The Orwell Prize 2018 were announced this evening at the prizegiving ceremony at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

This year’s three winners each focus on modern Britain, revealing a ‘turn to the nation’ in political writing in the continued wake of the EU Referendum result.

  • Darren McGarvey won The Orwell Prize for Books for Poverty Safari: Understanding the Anger of Britain’s Underclass (Luath Press).
  • ‘On the Edge’, a Financial Times team of Sarah O’Connor, John Burn-Murdoch and Christopher Nunn won The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils for their spreadsheet-and-shoeleather’ report on the relationship between poverty and mental health in ‘forgotten towns’ left behind by the UK economy
  • Carole Cadwalladr won The Orwell Prize for Journalism for her reports in The Observer on the impact of big data on the EU Referendum and the 2016 US presidential election

The Orwell Prize rewards the writing that comes closest to achieving English writer George Orwell’s ambition to ‘make political writing into an art’. Each £3,000 prize was presented by Richard Blair, George Orwell’s son. Each prize is determined by a separate panel of independent judges:

Each year prizes are awarded for political writing in Books, Journalism and the Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils, sponsored and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The Orwell Foundation, based at University College London, home of the Orwell Archive, is sponsored and supported by Political Quarterly, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Richard Blair.

The Orwell Prize for Books 2018 is awarded to Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvey 

Chair of judges, Andrew Adonis said:

“George Orwell would have loved this book. It echoes Down and Out in London and Paris and The Road to Wigan Pier. It is heart-rending in its life story and its account of family breakdown and poverty. But by the end there is not a scintilla of self-pity and a huge amount of optimism. It made me see the country and its social condition in a new light.”

The judges for The Orwell Prize for Books are politician, academic and journalist Andrew Adonis (Chair), Literary Journalist and Artistic Director of Words and Literature of the Bath Festival Alex Clark, novelist Kit de Waal, and Deputy Life & Arts Editor for the Financial Times Lorien Kite.

The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils is awarded to ‘On the Edge’ by the Financial Times team of Sarah O’Connor, John Burn-Murdoch and Christopher Nunn 

Campbell Robb, CEO of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said:

On the Edge was a piece of vivid, hard-hitting journalism, combining people’s experiences, data and analytic insight to show how so many people are being locked out and left behind by the way our economy works.

The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, is named in recognition of the task Joseph Rowntree gave his organization to ‘search out the underlying causes of weakness or evil’ that lay behind Britain’s social problems.

FT team win for report on the critical links between poverty, mental health and the local economy in Blackpool. “Spreadsheet-and-shoeleather” approach aimed to produce a story that was robustly analytical, yet deeply human at its heart.

The judges for the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils 2018 were Campbell Robb (Chief Executive, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation), Editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, Farrah Storr, Senior Fellow at the King’s Fund Nick Timmins and 2017 Orwell Prize Winner Felicity Lawrence.

The Orwell Prize for Journalism 2018 is awarded to Carole Cadwalladr 

Chair of judges, David Bell said:

We had a great set of pieces to judge. Orwell would have been very impressed and reassured , as we were, by their very high quality. I only wish we had had more tabloid entries.

This years winner – Carole Cadwalladr – deserves high praise for the quality of her research and for her determination to shed fierce light on a story which seems by no means over yet. Orwell would have loved it.

The judges for the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2018 are David Bell, Suzanne Franks, Elinor Goodman and Rachel Johnson.