Here you can find our full rules. Use the menu below to jump to:
- Book Prize Submissions
- Journalism Prize Submissions
- The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils Submissions
- Special Prize Submissions
1. The Orwell Prize is awarded annually in the spring, recognising work published in the calendar year preceding the year in which the Award is made. For example, the Prize awarded in May 2014 (the 2014 Prize) recognises work first published between 1st January and 31st December 2013.
2. It is named in memory of George Orwell, the British journalist, novelist and essayist.
3. The Orwell Prize aims 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 – and live up to the Values of the Orwell Prize.
4. ‘Political’ is defined in the broadest sense, including (but not limited to) entries addressing political, social, cultural, moral and historical subjects.
5. Entries may be fiction or non-fiction. Unfortunately, we do not currently accept works in translation, or poetry.
6. At this time we are unable to accept self-published books.
7. There is no entry fee for any of the Prizes. There are no publicity fees. The Prize is entirely free to enter and there is no charge to the writer at any point in the process.
8. Individuals may enter as many of the Prizes as they like – i.e. a writer can enter the Book Prize, Journalism Prize, and Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils in the same year.
9. The Prizes are self-nominating – somebody involved in the creation of the work must be responsible for entering it. (This might include the author or their publisher for the Book Prize and the journalist or their editor for the Journalism Prize or the Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils) If you think there is someone who should be encouraged to enter, please get in touch.
10. All entries must have a clear relationship with the United Kingdom or Ireland. This ‘relationship’ might include, but is not limited to, any of the following conditions:
- Residency in the United Kingdom or Ireland
- Citizenship of the United Kingdom or Ireland
- Foreign correspondents for British and Irish publications who are based abroad
- Foreign citizens who are resident or have a residence in the United Kingdom or Ireland at the time of writing and/or publication of their entry
- Books published first, or published only, in the United Kingdom or Ireland.
The Prize always tries not to exclude entries where possible. If you have any questions about eligibility, please get in touch.
11. The final decision on the eligibility of a submission rests with the director and operations manager of the Prize, subject to the oversight of the Council of the Orwell Prize.
12. If shortlisted the writer is expected to make themselves available for Orwell Prize interviews and attend the ceremony. The winners are expected to write a piece for the Orwell Prize website.
13. There are three prizes:
- The Book Prize, awarded to a book or pamphlet, whether fiction or non-fiction.
- The Journalism Prize, awarded to a journalist for sustained reportage and/or commentary working in any medium.
- The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils, awarded to a journalist enhancing the public understanding of social problems and public policy in the UK, communicated across multiple platforms
In addition, Special Prizes may be awarded at the discretion of the judges.
14. Following the closing of submissions, a list of all entries will appear on the Orwell Prize website.
15. A longlist in each Prize will be published. Typically, this will consist of eighteen books in the Book Prize, twelve journalists in the Journalism Prize, and twelve journalists for the Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils. The judges may opt to longlist fewer or more entries at their discretion.
16. A shortlist in each Prize will then be published, from the entries on the appropriate longlist. Typically, this will consist of six entries in each Prize. The judges may opt to shortlist fewer or more entries at their discretion.
17. There are no longlists or shortlists for Special Prizes, unless the judges announce the subject of and invite submissions for a named Special Prize at the Prize launch.
18. The winners of each Prize will be announced at the annual Awards Ceremony.
19. The Orwell Prize is worth £3000 to the winner in each category (apart from the Special Prize, where there is no monetary award unless specifically stated).
20. New judges are appointed each year, with a different jury being appointed for each of the two Prizes.
21. Judges are not permitted to enter any of the Prizes in the year they are judging.
22. Members of the boards of any of the Prize’s partners, or members of the Council of the Orwell Prize, are not permitted to enter (click here for a full list).
23. A completed submission consists of the entered work (see the individual categories below), a byline or cover art image with no rights reserved (see the individual categories below) and a completed entry form. Submissions must be received by the deadline, or bear a postmark from before the deadline.
Book Prize Submissions
25. All submitted books must have been published for the first time in the calendar year preceding the award. A book which was published in paperback for the first time in 2014, for example, would not be eligible for the 2015 Prize if a hardback version had been published in 2013.
26. Revised editions and reprints will not be considered, unless the revisions are so major as to effectively render the entry a new publication.
27. A single author, or very small team of authors, must be clearly identifiable. Anthologies consisting of work by more than one author will not be accepted, but books where co-authors have worked on the entire book together will be.
28. There is no limit to the number of books a publisher or imprint may enter.
29. Pamphlets published by thinktanks are eligible for the Book Prize.
30. Five physical copies of each book or pamphlet, along with a cover art image with no rights reserved and a completed entry form, should be submitted. The entry form may be in paper or electronic form. If a book is only available as an ebook, please get in touch.
31. The Prize expects as much assistance as possible from publishers of longlisted, shortlisted and winning works in publicising the achievement. This includes carrying the news on their website and in press releases, and highlighting the achievement in future editions of successful books.
32. If a book is successful at the shortlisting stage or wins, ‘Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2015′ or ‘Winner of the Orwell Prize 2015′ stickers are expected to be purchased by the publishers and used on future copies.
33. Publishers are expected to provide a digital copy of the first chapter of any longlisted books for the Orwell Prize website.
34. Publishers are expected to provide at least five further copies of longlisted books, and at least five further copies should a book make the shortlist. However, if this is not possible, it should not prevent a book from being entered.
35. Winning publishers are expected to print ‘Winner of the Orwell Prize’ on the cover of future editions, to provide some further complimentary copies of the book for publicity, and to meet representatives of the Prize upon their victory to discuss further publicity. Again, if this is not possible, it should not prevent a book from being entered.
36. A disclaimer is required for all entries (a checkbox on the online form) – either from the author or a representative of the publisher – stating that the entrant’s work is all their own and has not been plagiarised, or is otherwise primarily the work of somebody else.
37. Entrants should receive emailed confirmation of receiving their books. If they do not, they should contact the Prize.
Journalism Prize Submissions
38. A submission for the Journalism Prize should consist of between four and six items. This might consist of, for example, six printed articles, six television or radio broadcasts, six blog entries, or a combination of different media making six items (e.g. three printed articles, one television package, and two blog entries).
39. A single author, or very small team of authors, must be clearly identifiable. Entries consisting of single articles by different authors (i.e. an entry of six articles, each with a different author) will not be accepted, but entries where co-authors have worked on all of the submitted pieces will be. Entries where a named journalist has written (for example) four articles alone and presented two television programmes (which have a larger production team) would also be accepted.
40. There should be a written element to all submissions. In the case of television or radio entries, this should be a script or a transcript as appropriate.
41. Journalists may include work produced for more than one organisation in their entry.
42. Every submitted piece must be sent as a PDF, a byline photograph with no rights reserved must accompany every entry form.
43. There is no limit to the number of journalists that may enter from a single publication or organisation.
44. The Prize expects as much assistance as possible from longlisted, shortlisted and winning journalists and editors in publicising the achievement.
45. Entrants should receive emailed confirmation of their entry. If they do not, they should contact the Prize.
The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils Submissions
46. A submission for the Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils should consist of a story that has enhanced the public understanding of social problems and public policy in the UK. It must be communicated across at least two of the following platforms: journalistic writing, video content, audio content, social media, or photojournalism.
47. The story must be clearly and primarily concerned with an aspect of UK society.
48. A single author, or very small team of authors (maximum of 3), must be clearly identifiable. Entries consisting of single pieces of work by different authors will not be accepted, but entries where co-authors have worked on all of the submitted pieced will be.
49. Each piece of journalistic writing submitted must be sent as a PDF
50. For each piece of video content submitted the author must provide a permanent, accessible, and non-expiring URL.
51. For each piece of audio content submitted the author must provide a permanent, accessible, and non-expiring URL.
52. Each piece of social media content submitted can be uploaded as a PDF (containing up to a maximum of 3000 characters, or 20 tweets) or as a link to a ‘Storify’ story of equivalent length. Please see www.storify.com for further details.
53. Each piece of photojournalism submitted must be uploaded in an accessible file format (e.g. JPEG, PNG, PDF).
54. A byline photograph with no rights reserved must accompany every entry form.
55. Journalists may include work produced for more than one organisation in their entry.
56. There is no limit to the number of journalists that may enter from a single publication or organisation.
Special Prize Submissions
58. There are no submissions for the Special Prize, unless the judges decide to announce at the Prize launch that they are inviting submissions for a Special Prize around a named subject or medium.
60. The judges are proposed by the Council of the Orwell Prize and invited by the director of the Prize.
61. The judges are expected to attend a longlisting meeting, a shortlisting meeting and a meeting to decide the winners.
62. The judges will be warmly invited to all Orwell Prize events, including the launch debate, the listing debates and the awards ceremony. They will be expected to attend the awards ceremony.
63. The judges should not divulge the contents of either the longlist or the shortlist, or details of the winners, before the relevant official announcement. They should not comment on the judges’ deliberations in public.
64. Although judging meetings are convened by the director and operations manager of the Prize, the decisions regarding longlists, shortlists and winners are made by the judges alone.