Here you can find the answers to some frequently asked questions. Please contact us if your question is not answered here.
The Orwell Prizes aim to encourage good writing, reporting and thinking about politics. Every year since 1993, we have awarded prizes for books and journalism which come closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’.
The Orwell Prize for Books was originally awarded to a work of non-fiction or fiction. Thanks to the support of Richard Blair and A. M. Heath, we currently award two book prizes: The Orwell Prize for Political Writing and The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.
Our Journalism Prize reward and encourage work in any medium, while The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils, sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation since 2014, has a special remit to encourage reporting which extends the reach of traditional media.
The Orwell Foundation, which awards the Prizes, is a charity 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.
The Orwell Foundation is distinct from, but works closely with, the Orwell Estate, The Orwell Society, and The Orwell Trust.
At the moment, the Foundation awards four Prizes each year:
- The Orwell Prize for Political Writing
- The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction
- The Orwell Prize for Journalism
- The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils
Every year, the Foundation awards £12,000 in Prize money. Winners of each Orwell Prize receive £3,000.
For books, entries must be submitted by the publisher. In 2022, publishers can submit up to five books, and may recommend a further three for the judges to call in.
For journalism, someone involved in the creation of the work must be responsible for entering it. This may be the author, journalist publisher, agent, editor or a representative.
For all our Prizes, the person making the submission will be asked to sign a disclaimer on behalf of the author committing to abide by the rules and attesting that the entry is the author’s own work.
There are different eligibility requirements for each Prize, so please read our full list of rules.
Unlike industry awards, we have no entry fees and you don’t have to pay for a table to attend our Prize Ceremony.
Publishers who are shortlisted for either book prize are asked to make a contribution (£1000) to the cost of promoting the shortlist and winner. This contribution may be waived at the Foundation’s discretion.
As of 2022, the Prize Ceremony will take place at the Orwell Festival of Political Writing in early July.
We aim to be open and transparent about how our judges are appointed and how the judging process takes place. Judges are appointed each year and published on the Foundation website. The judges are appointed by the Director and administrators, subject to approval by the Board of Trustees.
Judges are independent. They are asked to put aside their own political preferences, and consider the entries solely on how far they meet the Prize criteria.
Early in the summer, the judges decide on a set of eight to ten finalists, which is published on the Foundation website and publicised via our social media and the press. The winners are announced at the Orwell Festival of Political Writing in July.
Authors and journalists may only submit one entry per Prize, but there is no restriction on the number of entries which may be submitted by a single publisher or publication for a single 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.
Keep an eye on our news, sign up to our newsletter or follow us on social media for up to date information.
Unfortunately we are unable to provide feedback on entries due to the very large number of submissions that are made.
The Orwell Foundation receives around 200 entries for each award, give or take.
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 or a judge, please contact us.