FAQs

Here you can find the answers to some frequently asked questions. Please contact us if your question is not answered here.

What are the Orwell Prizes and what do they aim to do?

The Orwell Prizes are Britain’s most prestigious prizes for political writing. Every year, we award prizes for the work which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’.

But we do much more: The Orwell Foundation, which awards the prizes, is a registered charity (number 1161563) dedicated to promoting public understanding of and interest in politics and current affairs through free public events and various other projects. As the only website officially sanctioned by the Orwell Estate, we also publish work by George Orwell (including our Webby-shortlisted Orwell Diaries blog) and articles about Orwell as well as other online resources.

Note: The Orwell Foundation is distinct from, but works closely with, the Orwell Estate, The Orwell Society, and The Orwell Trust.

How many awards are there?

At the moment, the Foundation awards three Prizes:

  • The Orwell Prize for Political Writing (FKA The Orwell Prize for Books)
  • The Orwell Prize for Journalism
  • The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils

In November 2018 the Foundation will launch a new prize for political fiction, sponsored by the Orwell estate’s literary agents A. M. Heath and Orwell’s son Richard Blair. The prize, to be named The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, will be awarded for the first time in June 2019.

The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils is sponsored and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The Prize is for reporting on social issues in the UK that is communicated across at least two platforms.

What do winners receive?

Winners of each Orwell Prize receive £3,000 and a unique trophy. Currently, trophies are designed and made by students in the design department at Goldsmiths, University of London.

When does the Prize Ceremony take place?

The Prize Ceremony usually takes place in late May/early June

Who are the judges?

Judges are appointed each year. The judges are appointed by the Director, subject to approval by the Board of Trustees. See this year’s judges.

How do I enter?

The Orwell Prizes are for work published in the year preceding that of the Prizes. For example, the Orwell Prize 2019 is for work first published in the calendar year 2018.

Read our full rules.

Calls for Entries go out in October-November and submissions are made through the website. Enter the Prize.

How does the judging process work?

The judges decide on a longlist, which is announced in March. The shortlist and finally the winner are then selected from the longlist. Shortlists are usually announced in April.

Can we submit multiple entries?

Yes. You can submit multiple entries. You can enter all three categories should you wish.

When do entries open?

Entries usually open in late October. Please see our key dates for up to date information.

When will entries close?

Please see our key dates for up to date information.

How much does it cost to enter?

Entry is free. Publishers who are shortlisted for either book prize are asked to make a contribution of £100 to the cost of the production and distribution of marketing material.

Who can enter?

Someone involved in the creation of the work must be responsible for entering it. This may be the author, publisher, agent, editor or a representative thereof.

All entries must have a clear link to the UK or Ireland. This includes, but is not limited to, citizenship of the author, residence of the author, place of first publication and work that is produced as a foreign correspondent for a British or Irish publication.

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

The Orwell Prizes are for work published in the year preceding that of the Prize. For example, the Orwell Prize 2019 is for work first published in the calendar year 2018.

We accept e-books.

Unfortunately, we do not accept edited collections, anthologies, poetry, works in translation or revised editions of work that has been published earlier.

Read our full list of rules.

When will I know if my work is successful?

Longlists are usually announced in March, with Shortlists announced in April and the winner announced in late May. Please see our key dates for up to date information.

Can you provide feedback?

Unfortunately we are unable to provide feedback on entries due to the very large number of submissions that are made.

How many entries does the Orwell Prize receive?

The Orwell Prize receives on average around 200 entries for each of the Books Prize and the Journalism Prize.

Why is there no longer a Blog Prize? Does the Orwell Prize have plans to re-launch a Blog Prize?

The Blog Prize was discontinued in 2010. Jean Seaton wrote about why here.

The Orwell Prize does not currently have plans to re-launch the Blog Prize.

How do I get involved with an event?

Our events are usually free and open to the public. Check our events page for up to date information.

If you have an idea for an event, or would like to propose a speaker, please contact us.