Rules

The Orwell Prizes, named in memory of George Orwell, the British journalist, novelist and essayist, aim 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 Foundation.

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. Individuals may be entered for any number of prizes in the same year, with the exception of the Orwell Prizes for Journalism and Exposing Britain’s Social Evils.

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 (2020)

INTRODUCTION

  1. The Orwell Prize for Journalism (henceforth, ‘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 2020 (the 2020 Prize), will recognise work first published between 1st January and 31st December 2019.
  2. It is named in memory of George Orwell, the British journalist, novelist and essayist.
  3. The Prize is awarded for sustained reportage and/or commentary, working in any medium.
  4. The Orwell Prizes aim to encourage good writing and thinking about politics. The winning entry of The Orwell Prize for Journalism 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 – the writing must be both political and artful – and live up to the values of The Orwell Foundation.
  5. The Prize is worth £3,000 to the winner.

ELIGIBILITY

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

  1. 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.
  2. A completed submission consists of three items and a completed entry form. The three items may be three written pieces (online or in print), three television or radio broadcasts or a combination of different media making three items (e.g. one printed article, one online only item, one television package). Submissions must be received by the deadline or bear a postmark from before the deadline. There are no restrictions on word count.
  3. In addition, one of the three items submitted may be originally published by the author on a blogging or microblogging site (e.g. personal blogs, Twitter threads). However, submissions which include more than one item which is self-published (i.e. where the article is published by a company or website set up by the author in order to publish that article – such as personal blogs – or where the author is the publisher) are ineligible.
  4. 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. An author can only be entered for the Prize once in a single year. There is no limit to the number of journalists who may enter from a single publication.
  6. Individual entries may include work produced for more than one publication.
  7. Entries should be able to demonstrate a link to the UK and/or Ireland. In most cases this will mean either the articles submitted should be first published in the UK and/or Ireland, or, in the case of articles first published internationally, that the journalist/s is a UK and/or Irish citizen or was resident in the UK and/or Ireland at the time of publication.
  8. Articles published in translation are ineligible.
  9. Writers and publications may enter as many of The Orwell Prizes for which they are 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 Journalism Prize, and the Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils in the same year.
  10. 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).
  11. 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.
  12. Judges are not permitted to enter the Prize in the year they are judging.
  13. Members of the boards of any of the Foundation’s partners, or Trustees of The Orwell Foundation, are not permitted to enter.
  14. Winners of the Prize are not eligible for three Prize cycles. For example, the winner of The Orwell Prize for Journalism 2019 would become eligible again in 2023. Winners of the Prize are eligible to enter any other Orwell Prize at any time.
  15. The final decision on the eligibility of a submission rests with the Director of The Orwell Foundation, subject to the oversight of the Trustees of The Orwell Foundation.

PROCESS

  1. Entries may be submitted by the author, or the author may be entered for the Prize by an editor, publisher or awards administrator. The entrant’s contact details (email address) will be held by the Foundation for three years following submission, in which time it will be used only to contact the entrant about their entry, or to distribute the ‘call for entries’.
  2. Entry is made via the online form. The online entry form can be found here.
  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 should be submitted as a permanent, accessible, non-expiring URL, together with a PDF or Word document transcript.
  4. A byline photograph with no rights reserved must accompany every entry form.
  5. Judges may call in any work they wish to consider provided it meets the eligibility criteria of the Prize.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 June. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. The winner may be asked to write a piece for The Orwell Foundation website or blog, speak at events and represent the Prize when requested.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR EXPOSING BRITAIN’S SOCIAL EVILS (2020)

INTRODUCTION

  1. The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils (henceforth, 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 2020 (the 2020 Prize), recognise will recognise work first published between 1st January and 31st December 2019.
  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 and in memory of George Orwell, the British journalist, novelist and essayist.
  3. The winning entry should consist of a story “that has enhanced the public understanding of social problems and public policy in the UK”. The work should be of equal excellence in style and content and live up to the values of The Orwell Foundation.
  4. The Prize is worth £3,000 to the winner.

ELIGIBILITY

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

  1. The story must be clearly and primarily concerned with an aspect of UK society.
  2. Entries may be communicated across any number and combination of the following platforms: writing, video content, audio content, social media, or photojournalism.
  3. 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 pieced will be.
  4. An author can only be entered for the Prize once in a single year. There is no limit to the number of entries a publisher or newspaper may enter.
  5. Entries may include work produced for more than one publication.
  6. Journalists and publications may enter as many of The Orwell Prizes for which they are 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 Journalism Prize, and the Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils in the same year.
  7. 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).
  8. A completed submission consists of any combination of media (up to a maximum of three items in each platform) – journalistic writing, video content, audio content, social media content, or photojournalism – and a completed entry form. There is no obligation to submit items in more than one platform, or to submit more than one item in any platform. For example, an entry might consist of two podcasts and one piece of video content, or one piece of writing and three items of photojournalism.
  9. 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.
  10. Judges are not permitted to enter the Prize in the year they are judging.
  11. Members of the boards of any of the Foundation’s partners, or Trustees of The Orwell Foundation, are not permitted to enter.
  12. Winners of the Prize are not eligible for three Prize cycles. For example, the winner of The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils 2019 would become eligible again in 2023. Winners of the Prize are eligible to enter any other Orwell Prize at any time.
  13. The final decision on the eligibility of a submission rests with the Director of The Orwell Foundation, subject to the oversight of the Trustees of The Orwell Foundation.

PROCESS

  1. Entry is made via the online form. The entry form can be found here.
  2. Entrants may submit up to three pieces of journalistic writing, which must be submitted as a PDF or Word document formatted in A4 and accompanied by a permanent, accessible, non-expiring URL where available.
  3. Entrants may submit up to three pieces of video content by providing a permanent, accessible, and non-expiring URL. Large files may need to be submitted by email, Dropbox or WeTransfer: please contact the administrator.
  4. Entrants may submit up to three pieces of audio content. For each piece of audio content submitted the author must provide a permanent, accessible, and non-expiring URL.
  5. Entrants may submit up to three collections of social media content. Each collection of social media content submitted can be uploaded as a PDF, Word document (containing up to a maximum of 3000 characters, or screenshots/links of up to 20 tweets) or as a link to a curated social media collection such as Wakelet.
  6. Entrants may submit up to three pieces of photojournalism. Each piece submitted must be uploaded in an accessible file format (e.g. JPEG, PNG, PDF).
  7. A byline photograph with no rights reserved must accompany every entry form.
  8. Judges may call in any work they wish to consider provided it meets the eligibility criteria of the Prize.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 June. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. The winner may be asked to write a piece for The Orwell Foundation website or blog, speak at events and represent the Prize when requested.
  14. 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.

SPECIAL PRIZE

  1. 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.
  2. The award of a Special Prize is entirely at the discretion of the judges – they do not have to award a Special Prize if they do not wish to do so.