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The Orwell Prize

The Orwell PrizeThe Orwell Prize was set up in 1994 by the late Sir Bernard Crick, funded by the hardback royalties of his biography of George Orwell. It rewards political writing that, in the opinion of the judges, comes closest to George Orwell's ambition "to make political writing into an art". Crick served as Chair of the judging panel until 2006, whereupon he was replaced by Professor Jean Seaton. Each year's judges are presented with a set of Orwell's values to aid their decision-making.

The prize began with two categories, Book and Journalism, with a third, Blog, being added in 2009. It is open to writing with a British or Irish connection published in the previous calendar year. Each category winner receives £3000.

Longlists are announced in the spring, usually featuring 18 contenders for the Book Prize and 12 for each of the other two categories. The shortlists, announced a few weeks later, feature six contenders in each category. The winner is announced in late May or early June.

In additon there have been two Special awards: in 2007 to the BBC's Newsnight and in 2008 to Clive James. Tony Judt was given a Lifetime Achievement award in 2009 and Carol Blue collected a psothumous Memorial award on behalf of her husband,Christopher HItchens.

The one major controversy involving the Prize came in the aftermath of the 2008 award of the Journalism Prize to Independent writer Johanni Hari. In 2011, the award was withdrawn after one of his articles for which he won was revealed to have plagiarised from Der Spiegel. Hari returned the plaque he had been awarded and, some time later, made a charitable donation to the value of the prize money.

The 2016 winner, was Arkady for The Invention of Russia: The Journey from Gorbachev's Freedom to Putin's War. The judges were Andrew Gamble, David Goodhart, Fiammetta Rocco and chair, William Waldegrave.

The 2017 longlist was announced 16th March. The shortlist will be announced at a special lecture with Ruth Davidson, Scottish Conservative leader on 15 May, together with shortlists for the Orwell Prize for Journalism and the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils. The winner of each £3000 prize will be announced at a ceremony during UCL’s Festival of Culture on 8 June. The judges are Jonathan Derbyshire (executive comment editor, Financial Times), playwright and author Bonnie Greer, writer and broadcaster Mark Lawson and writer and critic Erica Wagner.

 

2017 Longlist

The Seven: The Lives and Legacies of...
(Hardback)
Ruth Dudley Edwards
 
A captivating re-examination of the Easter Rising, addressing the fundamental questions and myths surrounding Ireland's founding fathers
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Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee
(Hardback)
John Bew
 
Published to coincide with the Labour conference, a biography of the prime minister who made the Party what it was in its glory days, by an author praised as 'the...
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£30.00
 
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£30.00
 
Easternisation: War and Peace in the...
(Hardback)
Gideon Rachman
 
The West's domination of world politics is coming to a close. The flow of wealth and power is turning from West to East and a new era of global instability...
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£20.00
 
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Black and British: An Untold Story
(Hardback)
David Olusoga
 
A Waterstones History Book of the Year In Black and British, award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga offers readers a rich and revealing exploration of...
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£25.00
 
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All Out War: The Full Story of How...
(Hardback)
Tim Shipman
 
'The best political book of the year' Andrew Marr...
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£25.00
 
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The Return: Fathers, Sons and the ...
(Paperback)
Hisham Matar
 
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE IN BIOGRAPHY SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD SHORTLISTED FOR THE...
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£9.99
 
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The Life Project: The Extraordinary...
(Paperback)
Helen Pearson
 
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2017 ORWELL PRIZE 'Eye-opening, extraordinary insights into ordinary lives' Financial Times 'Superb' Literary Review The remarkable story of a...
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The Marches
(Hardback)
Rory Stewart
 
His father Brian taught Rory Stewart how to walk, and walked with him on journeys from Iran to Malaysia. Now they have chosen to do their final walk together along...
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Island Story
(Paperback)
J. D. Taylor
 
What is life like on this island? With a tent and a rusty bike, J.D. Taylor set off to find out. No other subject has spilt so much ink as...
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And the Sun Shines Now: How...
(Paperback)
Adrian Tempany
 
Provides live on the BBC, and how people traumatised. This book covers what arrived in the wake of unquestionably controversial tragedy in the post-war era of Britain's history. It also...
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Enough Said: What's Gone Wrong with...
(Hardback)
Mark Thompson
 
How do we discuss serious ideas in the age of 24-hour news? What was rhetoric in the past and what should it be now? And what does Islamic State have...
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Cut: One Woman's Fight Against FGM in...
(Paperback)
Hibo Wardere
 
A medieval practice carried out in the 21stcentury, this is one woman's story of her fight against FGM in Britain today.
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Another Day in the Death of America
(Hardback)
Gary Younge
 
November 23rd, 2013. It was just another day in America; an unremarkable Saturday on which ten children and teens were killed by gunfire. It was just another day in the...
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Previous winners of the Book Prize

2016 The Invention of Russia: The Journey from Gorbachev's Freedom to Putin's War by Arkady

2015 Private Island: Why Britain Now Belongs to Someone Else by James Meek

2014 This Boy by Alan Johnson

2013 A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa by A T Williams

2012 Dead Men Risen by Toby Harnden

2011 The Rule of Law by Tom Bingham

2010 Keeper: A Book About Memory, Identity, Isolation, Wordsworth and Cake by Andrea Gillies

2009 Fishing in Utopia: Sweden and the Future that Disappeared by Andrew Brown

2008 Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape by Raja Shehadeh

2007 Having It So Good: Britain in the Fifties by Peter Hennessy

2006 Moses, Citizen and Me by Delia Jarrett-Macauley

2005 The Likes of Us: A Biography of the White Working Class by Michael Collins

2004 The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the Twenty First Century by Robert Cooper

2003 Hoo-Hahs and Passing Frenzies: Collected Journalism 1991-2000 by Francis Wheen (currently out of print)

2002 Anthony Blunt: His Lives by Miranda Carter

2001 Virtual War by Michael Ignatieff (currently out of print)

2000 The Case of Stephen Lawrence by Brian Cathcart (currently out of print)

1999 Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century in His Life by DM Thomas

1998 Jennie Lee: A Life by Patricia Hollis (currently out of print)

1997 Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa by Peter Godwin

1996 Season of Blood: A Rwandan Journey by Fergal Keane

1995 In Search of a State: Catholics in Northern Ireland by Fionnuala O'Connor (currently out of print)

1994 The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence by Anatol Lieven


For winners of the Journalism and Blog categories, see the official Orwell Prize website.

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