Since the first annual Orwell Prizes were awarded in 1994, many distinguished figures from literature and journalism have served on its judging panel.
Previous judges include Carmen Callil, Bonnie Greer, David Hare, Richard Hoggart, Lisa Jardine, Penelope Lively, Andrew O’Hagan, Tom Paulin, Esme Percy, Lynne Truss, Marina Warner and Samira Ahmed.
Sir Bernard Crick was chair of the judges until the 2006 Prize. Professor Jean Seaton became Director of the Prize from the Orwell Prize 2007. The Director is no longer on the judging panel. The judges are appointed each year by the Board of Trustees and the Director of The Orwell Foundation.
Judging the Orwell Prize was an invigorating experience. Reading the dozens of books and articles submitted, one realised just how potent Orwell’s spirit and example still are in inspiring the best authors and journalists. The prize celebrates this enduring influence – and, I think, helps to perpetuate it.
Francis Wheen, Judge (2007 & 2017) and Book Prize Winner 2003
2018 Book Judges
Alex Clark is a critic, journalist and broadcaster who lives in London, and the current Artistic Director for Words and Literature at the Bath Festival. She writes on a wide range of subjects for the Guardian, the Observer, the Spectator and the Times Literary Supplement. She has judged many literary awards, including the 2008 Man Booker prize. She regularly chairs live events, appears on radio and is the host of a monthly podcast for Vintage publishing.
Kit de Waal
Kit de Waal was born in Birmingham to an Irish mother, who was a foster carer and a Caribbean father. She worked for fifteen years in criminal and family law, was a magistrate for several years and sits on adoption panels. She used to advise Social Services on the care of foster children, and has written training manuals on adoption and foster care. Her writing has received numerous awards including the Bridport Flash Fiction Prize 2014 and 2015 and the SI Leeds Literary Reader’s Choice Prize 2014. Her first novel, My Name is Leon, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award in 2016. Her second novel, The Trick to Time will be published by Penguin Random House in March 2018.
I’m absolutely delighted to be one of the judges of The Orwell Prize for 2017. It’s such a privilege to read such outstanding books that illuminate a life, a country, an issue. It’s never been more important to read and understand the world around us and to stay informed.
Lord Andrew Adonis
Lord Adonis is chair of the National Infrastructure Commission and a Labour peer. He was previously an adviser to Tony Blair, heading the Policy Unit from 2001 to 2005. After joining the Lords, he became Minister of State for Education, and then Transport, before joining the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Transport. Before his political career, he was a journalist at The Observer and the Financial Times. He is an avid reader and writer, having published books on: his mission reforming the state education system, the aristocratic system in Britain at the turn of the twentieth century, and the post-2010 election coalition negotiations.
Lorien Kite is the books editor at the Financial Times. He started at the newspaper in 2000 and worked as an editor on the Comment and Analysis pages before taking on his current role in 2011. In 2014 he was a judge for the Samuel Johnson Prize (now Baillie Gifford) Prize for Non-Fiction.
2018 Journalism Judges
Elinor Mary Goodman is a UK journalist, best known as political editor of Channel 4 News from 1988 to 2005. Goodman joined Channel 4 News as political correspondent in 1982. Prior to her employment at Channel 4, she worked for the Financial Times. Goodman was appointed in 2005 to chair the Affordable Rural Housing Commission established by DEFRA. When she retired, she acted as a regular presenter of the BBC Radio 4 programme The Week in Westminster she served as one of six panel members of the public inquiry led by Lord Justice Leveson into the hacking of phones by News International.
Professor Suzanne Franks
Professor Suzanne Franks is head of the Journalism Department at City, University of London, which educates over 500 young journalists a year – from all over the world. She is a former BBC broadcaster who has also published widely on international news and women in the media, including Women and Journalism, for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, where she was a visiting fellow in 2015. She teaches an ethics class and one on Humanitarian Communication. Her latest book is an edited volume, Africa’s Media Image in the 21st Century. She appears regularly in the media and contributes to panels, speaking on questions including contemporary journalism education and journalism ethics.
A bestselling author, journalist, editor and broadcaster Rachel Johnson has been in national newspapers since the age of 23, when, after leaving Oxford, she became the first female graduate trainee at The Financial Times. She has worked for the BBC, the Foreign Office, and has written weekly columns for Daily and Sunday Telegraphs, the Sunday Times, and the Evening Standard among others and was editor of The Lady from 2009 – 2012.
Rachel is the author of The Mummy Diaries (2004), Notting Hell (Penguin, 2006, a top bestseller in France) and Shire Hell (2008), and A Diary of The Lady (2010) – charting her first year as Editor of the world’s oldest women’s weekly – Winter Games, (2013) and Fresh Hell ( 2015). Rachel is married and has three children. She divides her time between her homes in London and Exmoor.
Sir David Bell
Sir David Bell is a non-executive director of the Economist. He retired as a director of Pearson plc and Chairman of the Financial Times at the end of 2009 after thirteen years on the Board. David was appointed Chief Executive of the Financial Times in 1993 and became Chairman in 1996. In July 1998 he was also appointed Pearson’s Director for People with responsibility for the recruitment, motivation, development and reward of employees across the Pearson Group & in June 2003 he became Chairman of Pearson Inc in New York. David, born 30.9.46 in Henfield, Sussex was educated at Cambridge University and the University of Pennsylvania is married with three children and lives in Islington. David received his knighthood for services to industry, the arts and charity.
2018 Exposing Britain's Social Evils prize Judges
Campbell joined the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust as Chief Executive in January 2017. Before joining JRF and JRHT, Campbell was the Chief Executive of Shelter for seven years. As Chief Executive, he led the organisation through one of the most challenging periods in its history. This included building a sustainable, fundable model of integrated advice and support that is helping more clients than ever before, a growth in independent income and leading the organisation’s response to some of the biggest changes to housing and welfare policy in generations. Prior to joining Shelter, Campbell was the first Director General of the Office of the Third Sector, an adviser to The Treasury and was previously Director of Public Policy at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).Campbell is a trustee of Care International UK – www.careinternational.org.uk
Follow Campbell on Twitter at @campbell_robb
Farrah Storr was appointed Editor of Cosmopolitan in July 2015 tasked with revolutionising the brand for young millennial women. Under her watch, sales of Cosmopolitan increased by 59% year-on-year and the magazine swiftly went back to being the best-selling women’s glossy in the UK – a title it had not held for 15 years. Previously, Farrah was the launch Editor of Women’s Health magazine. Under her direction Women’s Health became the most successful women’s magazine launch of the decade. Her achievements were recognised by the British Society for Magazine Editors when she won the prestigious award ‘New Editor of the Year’ in 2014.
She is a regular talking head on both TV and radio. Farrah enjoys spending her free time relaxing in the Kent countryside with her husband and dogs.
Felicity Lawrence is a special correspondent for the Guardian and author of the bestselling exposés of the food business, Not on the Label and Eat Your Heart Out. Felicity was the winner of The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils 2017 for her reporting on the world of migrant gangwork in Wisbech.
Nick is a Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund, where he works on a range of policy projects. Between 1996 and 2011, he was Public Policy Editor of the Financial Times. He is also the author of The Five Giants: A Biography of the Welfare State (new edition, 2017).