Since the first annual Orwell Prizes were awarded in 1994, many distinguished figures from literature and journalism have served on its judging panel, including Carmen Callil, James Cornford, Bonnie Greer, David Hare, Richard Hoggart, Lisa Jardine, Angela Lambert, Penelope Lively, Joyce Macmillan, Blake Morrison, Andrew Motion, Andrew O’Hagan, Tom Paulin, Esme Percy, Donald Trelford, Lynne Truss, Marina Warner and Gwyneth Williams.

Sir Bernard Crick was chair of the judges until the 2006 Prize. Professor Jean Seaton became Director of the Prize from the Orwell Prize 2007. The Director is no longer on the judging panel.

The judges are appointed each year by the Board of Trustees and the Director.

The judges for the Orwell Prizes 2018 will be announced shortly. You can find more information about last year’s judges below:

2017 Book Judges

Bonnie Greer

Bonnie is a distinguished playwright, novelist and critic. She was Arts Council playwright in residence at the Soho Theatre and has written many plays for radio and the stage and an opera, Yes, written for the Royal Opera House. She is the author of two novels, Hanging by Her Teeth and Entropy, and three works of non-fiction, Obama Music, Langston Hughes: The Value of Contradiction and A Parallel Life. She contributes to The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. Bonnie has appeared as a panellist on Newsnight Review and Question Time and has been a trustee of the British Museum, the Royal Opera House and the London Film School. Bonnie is Chancellor of Kingston University. Bonnie was awarded an OBE in 2010.

Erica Wagner

Erica is a writer and critic. She is the author of Gravity, Ariel’s Gift: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and the Story of Birthday Letters and Seizure. Her poems appear in the Times Literary Supplement and she reviews regularly for The New York Times. Erica was literary editor of The Times  between 1996 and 2013 and judged the Man Booker Prize in 2002 and 2014. She has also been a judge for the Orange Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Wellcome Book Prize and the Forward Prize.

Jonathan Derbyshire

Jonathan is a journalist and the Executive Comment Editor at the Financial Times. He was previously the Managing Editor at Prospect, Culture Editor at the New Statesman. He has written for the Daily Telepraph, The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement. In 2007 he edited Time Out: 1000 Books to change your life. Jonathan also taught Philosophy at several British universities. In 2016 he was a judge for the Bailee Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction.

Mark Lawson

Mark is a novelist and cultural critic. He has published four novels including Idlewild, Going Out Live and Enough Is Enough. His latest book is The Allegations. His work as a broadcaster includes presenting Radio 4’s Front Row and Foreign Bodies – A History of Crime Fiction and BBC4’s ‘Mark Lawson Talks to…’ He also writes for The Guardian and The New Statesman.

2017 Journalism Judges

Alan Little

Alan is a former BBC researcher, reporter and special correspondent. He joined the BBC in 1983, and reported for Radio 4’s Today Programme. He is the co-author of the acclaimed book The Death of Yugoslavia. Alan has reported for Baghdad, Kuwait, the former Yugoslavia, Johannesburg and Moscow. In 2014, Alan led the BBC’s coverage of the Scottish independence referendum. Alan is chair of the Edinburgh International Book Festival and has won several awards including a Sony Documentary Gold Award in 2000.

Dame Liz Forgan DBE

Liz was formerly a journalist on the Tehran Journal, the Hampstead and Highgate Express, the Evening Standard and the Guardian. She moved to television at the start of Channel 4 where she became director of Programmes.  She joined the BBC as Managing Director BBC Network Radio in 1993. She is Chair of the Scott Trust and of the National youth Orchestra and Deputy Chair of the British Museum.  She was formerly Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Arts Council, a non-executive director of the Guardian Media Group and a non-executive member of the Department for Culture Media and Sport. She is a Patron of St Giles Trust, the National Churches Trust and the Pier Art Gallery, Stromness. She was made DBE in 2006 for services to heritage and broadcasting.  She is an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy, St Hugh’s College Oxford and Girton College Cambridge. She took up the role of Chair at Bristol Old Vic in May 2013.

Francis Wheen

Francis is a journalist, writer and broadcaster. He has written for The Guardian, the Evening Standard and Private Eye and is the author of several books. His book, Hoo-hahs and Passing Frenzies: Collected Journalism 1991 – 2001  won the Orwell Prize in 2003. His biography of Karl Marx won the Deutscher Memorial Prize in 1999. Francis is a regular panellist on The News Quiz and Have I Got News For You.

2017 Exposing Britain's Social Evils prize Judges

Claire Ainsley

Claire leads communications and influencing for JRF and JRHT. She leads work on understanding the social and political attitudes of people in poverty, and chaired the task group of the anti poverty strategy. Prior to joining in November 2013, Claire worked in public affairs and communications in the public and voluntary sectors, and for the UK’s largest trade union. Claire has a BA in Politics from the University of York and a MSc in Global Politics from the University of London. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Political Studies Association and part of their Communications and Engagement Advisory Group.

Julian Le Grand

Julian is the Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics, a post he has held since 1993. Between 2003 and 200, he was a senior Policy Adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair. Julian is a Founding Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences, an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, and a Trustee of the Kings Fund. In 2006 he was awarded an honorary doctorate (D.Litt) by the University of Sussex. In 2007 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is currently chairman of Health England. Julian is the author, co-author or editor of eighteen books, the author of over 100 articles and writes regularly for the national and international press.

Samira Ahmed

Samira is a freelance journalist, writer and broadcaster. She is the Presenter of BBC1’s Newswatch and BBC Radio 4’s Front Row. She has reported for the BBC and Channel 4, and her writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent and Rhe Spectator. In 2009, Samira won the Stonewall Broadcast of the Year Award. Since 2011, Samira has been a visiting Professor of Journalism at Kingston University. She is an occasional panellist on The News Quiz and a trustee of Action for Stammering Children.