October 31, 2018

George Orwell’s watching out! New Prize to honor political writing in the UK


This year–in light of the current political climate, no doubt– the Orwell Foundation is hoping to honor more political writing with a new award.  According to Shelf Awareness, George Orwell‘s estate renamed the Orwell Book Prize to Orwell Prize for Political Writing and will be focusing solely on political non-fiction writing, as well as adding another award to their prize list: the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, which will honor “outstanding novels and collections of short stories first published in the U.K. that illuminate major social and political themes, present or past, through the art of narrative.”

The new prize will be awarded in June 2019, when the Orwell Foundation doles out all its prizes, the third one being the Orwell Youth Prize, which seeks to encourage young writers to develop political writing skills through workshops and events. Organized by Orwell’s literary agency, A.M. Heath and Orwell’s own son, Richard Blair, the new prize hopes to encourage more political writing, a form of literature the 1984 author himself explored magnificently.

Shelf Awareness spoke with the director of the Foundation, Jean Seaton, who says: “Orwell’s fables and fictions still offer disturbing insights into modern life. So it is thrilling to be able to launch a new Orwell Prize for Political Fiction… Right now we need all the truth-telling in as many forms as we can get.”




Alex Primiani is the associate director of publicity at Melville House.