Rules

The Orwell Prizes are awarded annually in the summer and recognise work published in the calendar year preceding the year in which the awards are made. For example, the Prizes awarded in June 2021 will recognise work first published between 1st January and 31st December 2020.

There are currently four prizes:

In addition, Special Prizes may be awarded at the discretion of the judges.

You can find the most recent version of the rules for each Prize below, or jump to the relevant prize using the links above. Rules are updated each year.

 

THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL WRITING (2021)

1) INTRODUCTION

  1. The Orwell Prize for Political Writing is awarded annually and recognises work published in the calendar year preceding the year in which the Award is made. The Prize, awarded in June 2021 (the 2021 Prize), recognise will recognise work first published between 1st January and 31st December 2020.
  2. It is named in memory of George Orwell, the British journalist, novelist and essayist.
  3. Both The Orwell Prize for Political Writing and its sister prize, The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, aim to encourage good writing and thinking about political themes. The winning entry of The Orwell Prize for Political Writing should strive to meet Orwell’s own ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. Work should be of equal excellence in style and content and live up to the values of Orwell and the Orwell Foundation.
  4. ‘Political’ is defined in the broadest sense, including (but not limited to) entries addressing political, social, cultural, moral and historical subjects and can include pamphlets, books published by think tanks, diaries, memoirs, letters and essays.
  5. The Orwell Prize for Political Writing is worth £3,000 to the winner.

2) ELIGIBILITY

  1. Works of non-fiction must be first published in either print and/or electronic format, or both, in the UK or Ireland in the calendar year 2020 by a recognised publisher or imprint based in the UK. If a book is also published in the USA or Canada, it must be published simultaneously in the UK. All submitted titles should have their own ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and be available in either pounds sterling or, in the case of books published in the Republic of Ireland, euros through UK and Irish retailers.
  2. If you have any questions about eligibility, please get in touch with the administrator.
  3. There is no limit to the number of books a publisher or imprint may enter.
  4. A book which was published in paperback in 2020 would not be eligible for the 2021 Prize for Political Writing if it has first been published in hardback in 2019. Original paperbacks published in 2020 are eligible.
  5. 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, up to a maximum of three, have worked on the entire book together are eligible.
  6. Revised editions and reprints will not be considered, unless the revisions are so major as to effectively render the entry a new publication.
  7. Works published in translation are ineligible.
  8. Self-published books, i.e. where the book is published by a company set up by the author solely for the purpose of publishing that book, or where the author is the publisher, are ineligible.
  9. Publishers may enter as many of The Orwell Foundation Prizes for which the work is eligible in the same year – i.e. a writer can be entered for The Orwell Prize for Political Writing, The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, The Orwell Prize for Journalism, and The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils in the same year.
  10. There is no entry fee to enter the Prize however, the Orwell Foundation relies on the support of publishers and authors to promote the Prize and shortlisted publishers are asked to contribute £150 per title towards the production and distribution of marketing materials. We are able to grant exemptions from this payment in certain cases, at the discretion of The Orwell Foundation.
  11. A completed submission consists of a completed entry form including e-book and press release. Submissions must be received by the deadline.
  12. A disclaimer from the publisher or author is required for all entries (a checkbox on the online form) stating that the submitted work is all the author’s own and has not been plagiarised, or is otherwise primarily the work of somebody else.
  13. The final decision on the eligibility of a submission rests with the director and administrators of the Prize, subject to the oversight of Trustees of The Orwell Foundation.
  14. Judges are not permitted to enter the Prize in the year they are judging.
  15. Members of the boards of any of the Foundation’s partners or Trustees of The Orwell Foundation are not permitted to enter

3) PROCESS

  1. The entry form can be found here.
  2. In the first instance one copy of the book in electronic form in PDF, and in epub/mobi form where available, and a high-resolution image of the front cover, accompanied by a completed online entry form, should be submitted. You may then be asked to submit further physical copies for consideration (up to six copies).
  3. The deadline for entries is Friday 30th October 2020. If final version in e-book/PDF is not available, electronic proofs may be submitted but finished copies, if requested, must be supplied by 18th December 2020.
  4. Judges may call in any titles they wish to consider provided they meet the eligibility criteria of the prize.
  5. The longlist will be published in March 2021. Typically, this will consist of twelve books. The judges may opt to longlist fewer or more entries at their discretion.
  6. The shortlist will be published in May 2021, selected from the entries on the longlist. Typically, this will consist of six books or pamphlets. The judges may opt to shortlist fewer or more entries at their discretion.
  7. If shortlisted, the author is expected to make themselves available for interviews and attend the annual Awards Ceremony which is usually held on or around George Orwell’s birthday on 25th June 2021. The winner of the Prize will be announced alongside the winners of The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, the Journalism Prize and the Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils.
  8. If shortlisted, the author may be briefed about The Orwell Youth Prize and asked to consider taking part in a school workshop. Orwell Youth Prize school workshops give young people the opportunity to meet professional writers.
  9. The winner may be asked to write a piece for The Orwell Foundation website, speak at events, and represent the Prize when requested.
  10. 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 websites and in press releases, and highlighting the achievement in future editions of successful books, making the award of the Prize clear on subsequent reprint covers etc.
  11. If a book is longlisted, shortlisted or wins, The Orwell Foundation may request a number of copies for promotional purposes.
  12. If a book is successful at the shortlisting stage or wins, ‘Shortlisted for The Orwell Prize 2021′ or ‘Winner of The Orwell Prize 2021′ stickers will be available to publishers and booksellers as digital files alongside other marketing materials. The contribution from shortlisted publishers is £150. If the book reprints we may ask that you put ‘shortlisted or winner of The Orwell Prize for Political Writing’ on the cover or jacket.
  13. Publishers may be asked to approve relevant, short, extracts of any longlisted books for use on the Orwell Foundation website and in publicity.
  14. Entrants should receive emailed confirmation of receiving their entry. If they do not, they should contact the administrator.

 

THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL FICTION (2021)

1) INTRODUCTION

  1. The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction is awarded annually and recognises work published in the calendar year preceding the year in which the Award is made. The Prize, awarded in June 2021 (the 2021 Prize), recognise will recognise work first published between 1st January and 31st December 2020.
  2. It is named in memory of George Orwell, the British novelist, journalist and essayist and is sponsored by his literary agents, A. M. Heath, and Orwell’s son, Richard Blair.
  3. Both The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction and its sister prize for non-fiction, The Orwell Prize for Political Writing, aim to encourage good writing and thinking about political themes. Work should be of equal excellence in style and content and live up to the values of Orwell and the Orwell Foundation.
  4. The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction is worth £3,000 to the winner.

2) ELIGIBILITY

  1. Works of fiction must be first published in either print and/or electronic format, or both, in the UK or Ireland in the calendar year 2020 by a recognised publisher or imprint based in the UK. If a book is also published in the USA or Canada, it must be published simultaneously in the UK. All submitted titles should have their own ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and be available in either pounds sterling or, in the case of books published in the Republic of Ireland, euros through UK and Irish retailers.
  2. If you have any questions about eligibility, please get in touch with the administrator
  3. Short story collections by a single author are eligible but anthologies by either a single writer or multiple contributors will not be accepted.
  4. There is no limit to the number of books a publisher or imprint may enter.
  5. A book which was published in paperback in 2020 would not be eligible for The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction 2021 if it was first published in hardback in 2019. Original paperbacks published in 2020 are eligible for the prize.
  6. Fiction for young adults and graphic novels are eligible.
  7. Works published in translation are ineligible.
  8. Self-published books, i.e. where the book is published by a company set up by the author solely for the purpose of publishing that book, or where the author is the publisher, are ineligible.
  9. Publishers and authors may enter as many of The Orwell Foundation Prizes for which the work is eligible in the same year – i.e. a writer can be entered for The Orwell Prize for Political Writing, The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, The Orwell Prize for Journalism, and The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils in the same year.
  10. There is no entry fee to enter the Prize however, the Orwell Foundation relies on the support of publishers and authors to promote the Prize and we ask shortlisted publishers to contribute £150 per title towards the promotion of the shortlist and winner. We are able to grant exemptions from this payment in certain cases, at the discretion of The Orwell Foundation.
  11. A completed submission consists of a completed entry form including e-book and press release. Submissions must be received by the deadline.
  12. A disclaimer from the publisher or author is required for all entries (a checkbox on the online form) stating that the submitted work is all the author’s own and has not been plagiarised, or is otherwise primarily the work of somebody else.
  13. The final decision on the eligibility of a submission rests with the director and administrators of the Prize, subject to the oversight of Trustees of The Orwell Foundation.
  14. Judges are not permitted to enter the Prize in the year they are judging.
  15. Members of the boards of any of the Foundation’s partners or Trustees of The Orwell Foundation are not permitted to enter.

3) PROCESS

  1. The entry form can be found here.
  2. In the first instance one copy of the book in electronic form in PDF, and in epub/mobi form where available, and a high-resolution image of the front cover, accompanied by a completed online entry form, should be submitted. You may then be asked to submit further physical copies for consideration (up to six copies).
  3. The deadline for entries is Friday 30th October 2020. If final version in e-book/PDF is not available, electronic proofs may be submitted but finished copies, if requested, must be supplied by 18th December 2020.
  4. Judges may call in any titles they wish to consider provided they meet the eligibility criteria of the prize.
  5. A longlist will be published in March 2021. This will consist of twelve books although the judges may opt to longlist fewer or more entries at their discretion.
  6. The shortlist will be published in May 2021, selected from the entries on the longlist. Typically, this will consist of six books. The judges may opt to shortlist fewer or more entries at their discretion.
  7. If shortlisted, the author is expected to make themselves available for interviews and attend the annual Awards Ceremony which is usually held on or around George Orwell’s birthday on 25th June. The winner of the Prize will be announced alongside the winners of The Orwell Prize for Political Writing, The Orwell Prize for Journalism and The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils.
  8. If shortlisted, the author may be briefed about The Orwell Youth Prize and asked to consider taking part in a school workshop. Orwell Youth Prize school workshops give young people the opportunity to meet professional writers.
  9. The winners may be asked to contribute a piece for The Orwell Foundation website, speak at events, and represent the Prize when requested.
  10. 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 websites and in press releases, and highlighting the achievement in future editions of successful books, making the award of the Prize clear on subsequent reprint covers etc.
  11. If a book is longlisted, shortlisted or wins, The Orwell Foundation may request a number of copies for promotional purposes.
  12. If a book is successful at the shortlisting stage or wins, ‘Shortlisted for The Orwell Prize 2021′ or ‘Winner of The Orwell Prize 2021′ stickers will be available to publishers and booksellers as digital files alongside other marketing materials. The contribution from shortlisted publishers is £150. If the book reprints we ask that you put ‘shortlisted or winner of The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction’ on the cover or jacket.
  13. Publishers may be asked to approve relevant, short, extracts of any longlisted books for use on the Orwell Foundation website and in publicity.
  14. Entrants should receive emailed confirmation of receiving their entry. If they do not, they should contact the administrator.

 

THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR JOURNALISM (2021)

1) INTRODUCTION

  1. The Orwell Prize for Journalism (‘the Prize’) is awarded annually and recognises work published in the calendar year preceding the year in which the award is made. The Prize, awarded in June 2021 (the 2021 Prize), will recognise work first published between 1st January and 31st December 2020.
  2. It is named in memory of George Orwell, the British journalist, novelist and essayist.
  3. The Orwell Prizes aim to encourage good writing and reporting about politics. The Orwell Prize for Journalism is awarded for sustained reportage and/or commentary, working in any medium. The winning entry should strive to meet Orwell’s own ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. The work should be of equal excellence in style and content and live up to the values of The Orwell Foundation.
  4. The winner will receive £3,000.

2) ELIGIBILITY

  1. A completed submission consists of a supporting statement (maximum 1200 characters), a minimum of three – and a maximum of four – articles, and a completed entry form.
  2. The deadline for entries is midday (12.00) Monday 11th January 2021. Entries must be received before the deadline.
  3. There are no restrictions on word count or broadcast time.
  4. The articles may be written pieces (online or in print), television or radio broadcasts or a combination of different media. There must be a written element to all submissions. In the case of television or radio items, this should be a script or a transcript, as appropriate.
  5. At least three articles submitted must be published by a recognised publisher or news outlet. Entrants who chose to submit four articles may include one article originally published by the author on a blogging or microblogging site (e.g. personal blogs, Twitter threads) or four articles published by a recognised publisher.
  6. Entries must be able to demonstrate a link to the UK and/or Ireland by meeting one or more of the following criteria: a) The articles submitted were first published in the UK and/or Ireland b) the author was based in the UK and/or in Ireland at the time of publication c)The author is a UK or Irish citizen.
  7. All articles submitted as part of an entry to the Prize must be first published between 1st January 2020 and 31st December 2020.
  8. Entries may be submitted by the author, or the author may be entered for the Prize by an editor, publisher or awards administrator.
  9. A single author, or very small team of authors, must be clearly identifiable. Entries consisting of single articles by different authors will not be accepted, but entries where co-authors have worked on all three pieces will be. Entries where a named journalist has written two articles alone and presented a television programme with a larger production team would also be accepted.
  10. A disclaimer from the publisher, editor or author is required for all entries (a checkbox on the online form) stating that the submitted work is all the author’s own and has not been plagiarised or is otherwise primarily the work of somebody else.
  11. There is no limit to the number of journalists who may enter the Prize from a single publication.
  12. An individual entry may include work produced for more than one publication.
  13. Journalists and articles can only be entered for either The Orwell Prize for Journalism or The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils in one year, with the following exceptions: a journalist who has entered one of the Orwell Journalism Prizes (The Orwell Prize for Journalism or The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils) may also enter one of the Orwell Book Prizes; individual journalists may enter The Orwell Prize for Journalism in a personal capacity and be nominated for The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils as part of a small team, or vice versa, providing there is no significant overlap in the material submitted.
  14. Winners of The Orwell Prize for Journalism may not enter the Prize for three Prize cycles during which time they remain eligible for any other of The Orwell Prizes.
  15. Articles published in translation are ineligible.
  16. There is no entry fee to enter the Prize or attend the Awards Ceremony. The Ceremony will be held in central London on or around the 25th June (George Orwell’s birthday).
  17. Judges are not permitted to enter the Prize in the year they are judging.
  18. Members of the boards of any of the Foundation’s partners, or Trustees of The Orwell Foundation, are not permitted to enter.
  19. The final decision on the eligibility of a submission rests with the director and administrators of the Prize, subject to the oversight of the Trustees of The Orwell Foundation.

3) PROCESS

  1. The entry form can be found here.
  2. To assist our small administrative team, any file uploaded to the form must be named in the following format: entrant’s surname, entrant’s first name, article number (all one word, with no spaces). For example, Eric Blair’s first article would be titled ‘BlairEric1.doc’ and Eric Blair’s second article would be titled ‘BlairEric2.doc’.
  3. Every submitted written piece must be sent as a PDF or Word document formatted in A4 and accompanied by a permanent, accessible, non-expiring URL where available. Television or radio items may be embedded or submitted as a permanent, accessible, non-expiring URL and should be accompanied by a PDF or Word document transcript.
  4. The entrant’s contact details (email address) will be held by the Foundation for seven years following submission, in which time it will only be used to contact the entrant about their entry and/or to facilitate their entry to the Prize in the future.
  5. A byline photograph with no rights reserved must accompany every entry.
  6. The judges may call in any work they wish to consider provided it meets the eligibility criteria of the Prize.
  7. A longlist will be published in March 2021. Typically, this will consist of twelve entries. The judges may opt to longlist fewer or more entries at their discretion. In the event they are longlisted, journalist/s will be listed alongside the places their submitted articles were published.
  8. A shortlist will be published by May 2021, selected from the entries on the longlist. Typically, this will consist of six entries. The judges may opt to shortlist fewer or more entries at their discretion. In the event they are shortlisted, journalist/s will be listed alongside the places their submitted articles were published.
  9. If shortlisted, the winner is expected to make themselves available for interviews and attend the annual Awards Ceremony which is usually held on or around George Orwell’s birthday on 25th The winner of the Prize will be announced alongside the winners of The Orwell Prize for Political Writing, The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction and the Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils.
  10. If shortlisted, the writer/s may be briefed about The Orwell Youth Prize, a programme for young people, and asked to consider taking part in a Youth Prize workshop or be interviewed by a young writer. The Orwell Youth Prize workshops give young people the opportunity to discuss their ideas about politics and society and meet professional writers.
  11. If a journalist or author wins the Orwell Prize, they will be required to produce an extended response to winning the award in collaboration with The Orwell Foundation (for example an interview, article, lecture or podcast). This is a condition of winning the Prize. The winner may also be asked to speak at events and represent the Prize when requested.
  12. The Prize expects as much assistance as possible from longlisted, shortlisted and winning journalists and their editors in publicising their achievement. This includes carrying the news on their websites and in press releases.
  13. If shortlisted, the writer/s will be invited to join the Orwell Fellowship. As well distinguished former winners and shortlistees of the Prizes, Orwell Fellows are ambassadors for the Foundation, subscribing to its values of integrity, decency and fidelity to truth.

If you have any questions about eligibility, please get in touch.

 

THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR EXPOSING BRITAIN’S SOCIAL EVILS (2021)

1) INTRODUCTION

  1. The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils (‘the Prize’) is awarded annually and recognises work published in the calendar year preceding the year in which the Award is made. The Prize, awarded in June 2021 (the 2021 Prize), recognise will recognise work first published between 1st January 2020 and 31st December 2020.
  2. The Prize, sponsored and supported by The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, is named after the task which Joseph Rowntree set his organisation ‘to search out the underlying causes of weakness or evil’ that lay behind Britain’s social problems.
  3. The winning entry should consist of a story that has enhanced the public understanding of social problems and public policy in the UK. It should be of equal excellence in style and content and live up to the values of The Orwell Foundation.
  4. The Prize supports and encourages original, insightful and impactful reporting on social issues in the UK and encourages entries from reporting that extends the reach of traditional media. Entries may therefore feature a range of platforms and media.
  5. The winner will receive £3,000.

2) ELIGIBILITY

  1. A completed submission consists of a supporting statement (max 1200 characters), up to six pieces of content and a completed entry form. For example, an entry might consist of two podcasts and one piece of video content, or one piece of writing and three pieces of photojournalism. All items submitted should contribute to the story: entrants may use the supporting statements to expand on their motivations, methods, and impact on public understanding.
  2. The deadline is midday (12.00) Monday 11th January 2021. Entries must be received before the deadline.
  3. There are no restrictions on word count or broadcast time.
  4. The story must be clearly and primarily concerned with an aspect of UK society.
  5. Any content submitted as part of an entry to the Prize must be first published between 1st January 2020 and 31st December 2020.
  6. The Prize encourages entries from reporting that extends the reach of traditional media. Entries may be communicated across any number and combination of the following platforms: journalistic writing (online or in print); video content (e.g. documentary films broadcasts); audio content (podcasts, radio broadcasts etc); social media (vlogs, infographics, Twitter threads etc); photojournalism.
  7. A single author, or very small team of authors, 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 pieces will be.
  8. There is no limit to the number of entries a publisher or broadcaster may enter.
  9. Entries may include work produced for more than one publication.
  10. Journalists and articles can only be entered for either The Orwell Prize for Journalism or The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils in one year, with the following exceptions; a journalist who has entered one of the Orwell Journalism Prizes (The Orwell Prize for Journalism or The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils) may also enter one of the Orwell Book Prizes; individual journalists may enter The Orwell Prize for Journalism in a personal capacity and be nominated for The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils as part of a small team, or vice versa, providing there is no significant overlap in the material submitted.
  11. There is no entry fee to enter the Prize or attend the Awards Ceremony. The Ceremony will be held in central London on or around the 25th June (George Orwell’s birthday).
  12. A disclaimer from the publisher, editor or author is required for all entries (a checkbox on the online form) stating that the submitted work is all the author’s own and has not been plagiarised or is otherwise primarily the work of somebody else.
  13. The entrant’s contact details (email address) will be held by the Foundation for seven years following submission, in which time it will only be used to contact the entrant about their entry and/or to facilitate their entry to the Prize in the future.
  14. Judges are not permitted to enter the Prize in the year they are judging.
  15. Members of the boards of any of the Foundation’s partners, or Trustees of The Orwell Foundation, are not permitted to enter.
  16. Winners of the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils are not eligible for three Prize cycles, during which time they remain eligible for any other of the Orwell Prizes.
  17. The final decision on the eligibility of a submission rests with the Director and Programme Managers of The Orwell Foundation, subject to the oversight of the Trustees of The Orwell Foundation.

3) PROCESS

  1. Entry is made via the online form which can be found here.
  2. A byline photograph with no rights reserved must accompany every entry form.
  3. Television, radio items or social media items may be embedded or submitted as a permanent, accessible, non-expiring URL.
  4. Journalistic writing should be uploaded as a file (PDF or Word) and/or a permanent, accessible, non-expiring URL.
  5. Photojournalism should be uploaded as a file (PNG or JPG) and/or a permanent, accessible, non-expiring URL.
  6. To assist our small administrative team, any file uploaded to the form must be titled in the following format: entrant’s surname, entrant’s first name, content number (all one word, with no spaces). For example, Eric Blair’s first piece of content would be titled ‘BlairEric1.doc’ and Eric Blair’s second article would be titled ‘BlairEric2.doc’.
  7. Judges may call in any work they wish to consider provided it meets the eligibility criteria of the Prize.
  8. A longlist will be published in March 2020. Typically, this will consist of twelve entries. The judges may opt to longlist fewer or more entries at their discretion.
  9. A shortlist will be published by May 2020, selected from the entries on the longlist. Typically, this will consist of six entries. The judges may opt to shortlist fewer or more entries at their discretion.
  10. If shortlisted, the winner is expected to make themselves available for interviews and attend the annual Awards Ceremony which is usually held on or around George Orwell’s birthday on 25th The winner of the Prize will be announced alongside the winners of The Orwell Prize for Political Writing, The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction and the Prize for Journalism.
  11. If shortlisted, the writer/s may be briefed about The Orwell Youth Prize, a programme for young people, and asked to consider taking part in a Youth Prize workshop or be interviewed by a young writer. The Orwell Youth Prize workshops give young people the opportunity to discuss their ideas about politics and society and meet professional writers.
  12. If a journalist or author wins the Orwell Prize, they will be required to produce an extended response to winning the award in collaboration with The Orwell Foundation (for example an interview, article, lecture or podcast). This is a condition of winning the Prize. The winner may also be asked to speak at events and represent the Prize when requested.
  13. The Prize expects as much assistance as possible from longlisted, shortlisted and winning journalists and their editors in publicising their achievement. This includes carrying the news on their websites and in press releases.

If you have any questions about eligibility, please get in touch.

 

SPECIAL PRIZE (2021)

  1. There are no submissions for the Special Prize, unless the judges (of any Prize panel) decide to announce at the Prize launch that they are inviting submissions for a Special Prize around a named subject or medium.
  2. The award of a Special Prize is entirely at the discretion of the judges (of any Prize panel) – they do not have to award a Special Prize if they do not wish to do so.