Exposing Britain’s Social Evils

“The Orwell Prize is the prize for political writing, the one you really covet as an author, and getting the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils feels a wonderful affirmation, especially if you are reporting from outside the Westminster bubble.”

Felicity Lawrence

In 2014, The Orwell Prize and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation launched The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils, a new social issues journalism prize. The prize supports and encourage original, insightful, and impactful reporting on social issues in the UK.

The Prize 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.

We are looking for a story that has enhanced the public understanding of social problems and public policy in the UK in the last year.

As we do with politics, The Orwell Prizes define social problems and public policy in the widest sense. The judges will be looking for quality, sustained investigative journalism and story-telling across a broad range of social issues. Although entries should, as Orwell put it, aim “to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after”, the prizes do not promote the political purposes of any particular writing and judges are asked to take no account of the political orientation of the reporting.

Previous shortlists have included investigations into elderly care, hate-crime and the treatment of children in immigration detention centres. You can learn more about our previous winners and shortlistees here.

The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils encourages entries from reporting that extends the reach of traditional media to connect with the public. Entries may be communicated across any of the following platforms:

  • Journalistic writing (online or in print)
  • Video content
  • Audio content (including radio programmes, podcasts, audio reports)
  • Social media content (for example, reporting via Twitter)
  • Photojournalism

Entry is free, and there are no charges at any point. Journalists may nominate themselves for the award, or be nominated by an editor or publicist. Entries may be individual, or made up of a small group of authors.