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Christopher Hitchens misses out on Orwell Prize shortlist

25th April 2012

The shortlist for the 2012 Orwell Prize for political writing has been announced, with the late, outspoken essayist Christopher Hitchens a surprise omission.

Hitchens, who died in December last year after a battle with oesophageal cancer, was widely expected to make the shortlist and was the favourite to scoop the prize - something he never did during his lifetime.

However, his last book, Arguably, was overlooked by the judging panel in favour of six other titles, despite being universally praised by critics upon its publication.

The shortlist includes Toby Harnden's Dead Men Risen, an intimate account of the Welsh Guards' six-month tour of Afghanistan's Helmand Province in 2009, and Misha Glenny's Dark Market, an investigation into the world of cybercrime.

Siddhartha Deb's The Beautiful and the Damned, an examination of the successes and failures of the so-called 'new India', and Hood Rat, debut author Gavin Knight's sobering look at Manchester's gang culture, are also in contention.

The shortlist is completed by The Opium War, Julia Lovell's exploration of the Anglo-Chinese War of 1839 and its impact on Chinese and British history, and People Who Eat Darkness, Richard Lloyd Parry's investigation into the death of English girl Lucie Blackman in Tokyo in 2000.

The winner of the GBP 3,000 Orwell Prize for best book, as well as the journalism and blog awards, will be announced on May 23rd.

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