The Orwell Prize, based at University College London, is a British prize for political writing. The Prize is awarded by The Orwell Foundation, an independent charity (Registered Charity No 1161563, formerly "The Orwell Prize") governed by a board of trustees.[1] Four prizes are awarded each year: one each for a fiction (established 2019) and non-fiction book on politics, one for journalism and one for "Exposing Britain's Social Evils" (established 2015); between 2009 and 2012, a fifth prize was awarded for blogging. In each case, the winner is the short-listed entry which comes closest to George Orwell's own ambition to "make political writing into an art".[2]

In 2014, the Youth Orwell Prize was launched, targeted at school years 9 to 13 in order to "support and inspire a new generation of politically engaged young writers".[3] In 2015, The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain's Social Evils, sponsored and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, was launched.[4]

The British political theorist Sir Bernard Crick founded The Orwell Prize in 1993, using money from the royalties of the hardback edition of his biography of Orwell. Its current sponsors are Orwell's son Richard Blair, The Political Quarterly, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Orwell Estate's literary agents, A. M. Heath.[5] The Prize was formerly sponsored by the Media Standards Trust and Reuters.[6] Bernard Crick remained chair of the judges until 2006; since 2007, the media historian Professor Jean Seaton has been the Director of the Prize. Judging panels for all four prizes are appointed annually.[7]

Winners and shortlists

The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction (2019–present)

Year Author Title Result Ref.
2019 Anna Burns Milkman Winner [8][9]
Glen James Brown Ironopolis Shortlist [10]
Nick Drnaso Sabrina
Diana Evans Ordinary People
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma House of Stone
Leni Zumas Red Clocks
2020 Colson Whitehead The Nickel Boys Winner [11][12]
Lucy Ellmann Ducks, Newburyport Shortlist [13]
Bernardine Evaristo Girl, Woman, Other
John Lanchester The Wall
Attica Locke Heaven, My Home
Edna O'Brien Girl
2021 Ali Smith Summer Winner [14][15][16]
Abdulrazak Gurnah Afterlives Shortlist [17]
Colum McCann Apeirogon
Rumaan Alam Leave the World Behind [18]
Akwaeke Emezi The Death of Vivek Oji
Brit Bennett The Vanishing Half [17]
2022 Claire Keegan Small Things Like These Winner [19][20]
Alice Albinia Cwen Shortlist [21][22]
Anuk Arudpragasam A Passage North
Natasha Brown Assembly
Jessie Greengrass The High House
Audrey Magee The Colony
J. O. Morgan Appliance
Yara Rodrigues Fowler There Are More Things
Isabel Waidner Sterling Karat Gold

The Orwell Prize for Political Writing (2019–present)

Year Author Title Result Ref.
2019 Patrick Radden Keefe Say Nothing: A True Story Of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland Winner [8][9]
Oliver Bullough Moneyland: Why Thieves and Crooks Now Rule the World and How to Take It Back Shortlist [10]
Francisco Cantú The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border
Nora Krug Heimat: A German Family Album
David Pilling The Growth Delusion: The Wealth and Well-Being of Nations
Alpa Shah Nightmarch: Among India's Revolutionary Guerrillas
2020 Kate Clanchy Some Kids I Taught and What they Taught Me Winner [11][12]
Tim Bouverie Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill and the Road to War Shortlist [13]
Caroline Criado Perez Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
Amelia Gentleman The Windrush Betrayal: Exposing the Hostile Environment
Robert Macfarlane Underland: A Deep Time Journey
Charles Moore Margaret Thatcher--Herself Alone: The Authorized Biography Vol. 3
Shoshana Zuboff The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
2021 Joshua Yaffa Between Two Fires: Truth, ambition and compromise in Putin's Russia Winner [14][15][16]
Olivette Otele African Europeans: An Untold History Shortlist [17]
Barbara Demick Eat the Buddha: The Story of Modern Tibet through the People of One Town
James Rebanks English Pastoral: An Inheritance
Madeleine Bunting Labours of Love: The Crisis of Care
Christina Lamb Our Bodies, Their Battlefield: What War Does to Women
Michael Taylor The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery
2022 Sally Hayden My Fourth Time, We Drowned Winner [19][20]
Polly Curtis Behind Closed Doors Shortlist [21][22]
David Graeber and David Wengrow The Dawn of Everything
Jeremy Farrar and Anjana Ahuja Spike: The Virus vs The People
Kojo Koram Uncommon Wealth
Kei Miller Things I Have Withheld
Rebecca Solnit Orwell's Roses
Amia Srinivasan The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century
Adam Tooze Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World's Economy
Michela Wrong Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad

Combined book category (1994–2018)

Year Author Title Result Ref.
1994 Anatol Lieven The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence Winner
1995 Fionnuala O'Connor In Search of a State: Catholics in Northern Ireland Winner
1996 Fergal Keane Season of Blood: A Rwandan Journey Winner
1997 Peter Godwin Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa Winner
1998 Patricia Hollis Jennie Lee: A Life Winner
1999 D. M. Thomas Alexander Solzhenitsyn: a Century in His Life Winner
2000 Brian Cathcart The Case of Stephen Lawrence Winner
2001 Michael Ignatieff Virtual War Winner
2002 Miranda Carter Anthony Blunt: His Lives Winner
2003 Francis Wheen Hoo-hahs and Passing Frenzies: Collected Journalism 1991–2000 Winner
Matthew Parris Chance Witness: An Outsider's Life in Politics Shortlist
Iain Sinclair London Orbital: A Walk Around the M25
Robert Gildea Marianne in Chains: In Search of the German Occupation 1940-45
Richard Weight Patriots: National Identity in Britain 1940-2000
Neal Ascherson Stone Voices: The Search for Scotland
2004 Robert Cooper The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the Twenty-First Century Winner
Monica Ali Brick Lane Shortlist
John Campbell Margaret Thatcher : Volume Two: The Iron Lady
Norman Davies Rising ’44: The Battle For Warsaw
Hugo Young Supping with the Devils: Political Journalism from Thatcher to Blair
2003 Michael Collins The Likes of Us: A Biography of the White Working Class Winner
Timothy Garton Ash Free World Shortlist
Helena Kennedy Just Law
Andrew Marr My Trade: A Short History of British Journalism
Ian Buruma & Avishai Margalit Occidentalism: A Short History of Anti-Westernism
Juliet Gardiner Wartime: Britain 1939-1945
2004 Delia Jarrett-Macauley Moses, Citizen and Me Winner [23]
Bernard Hare Urban Grimshaw and The Shed Crew Shortlist
Richard Webster The Secret of Bryn Estyn: The Making of a Modern Witch Hunt
Michela Wrong I Didn't Do It For You: How the World Used and Abused a Small African Nation
David Loyn Frontline: The True Story of the British Mavericks Who Changed the Face of War Reporting
Ekow Eshun Black Gold of the Sun: Searching for Home in England and Africa
2007 Peter Hennessy Having It So Good: Britain in the 1950s Winner
Simon Jenkins Thatcher and Sons: A Revolution in Three Acts Shortlist
Rory Stewart Occupational Hazards: My Time Governing in Iraq
Lewis Page Lions, Donkeys And Dinosaurs: Waste and Blundering in the Military
Carmen Callil Bad Faith: A Forgotten History of Family and Fatherland
Hugh Brogan Alexis de Tocqueville: Prophet of Democracy in the Age of Revolution
2008 Raja Shehadeh Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape Winner
Nick Cohen What's Left? Shortlist
Jay Griffiths Wild
William Hague William Wilberforce
Ed Husain The Islamist
Marina Lewycka Two Caravans
Clive Stafford Smith Bad Men
2009 Andrew Brown Fishing in Utopia: Sweden and the future that disappeared Winner [24][25]
Tony Judt Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century Shortlist [26]
Owen Matthews Stalin's Children: Three Generations of Love and War
Hsiao-Hung Pai Chinese Whispers: The True Story Behind Britain's Hidden Army of Labour
Ahmed Rashid Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia
Mark Thompson The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front 1915–1918
2010 Andrea Gillies Keeper Winner
Christopher de Bellaigue Rebel Land: Among Turkey's Forgotten Peoples Shortlist
Petina Gappah An Elegy for Easterly
John Kampfner Freedom For Sale: How We Made Money and Lost Our Liberty
Kenan Malik From Fatwa to Jihad: The Rushdie Affair and Its Legacy
Michela Wrong t's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle Blower
2011 Tom Bingham The Rule of Law Winner [27][28]
Afsaneh Moqadam Death to the Dictator!: Witnessing Iran's election and the Crippling of the Islamic Republic Shortlist [29]
Christopher Hitchens Hitch-22
Oliver Bullough Let Our Fame Be Great: Journeys among the defiant people of the Caucasus
D. R. Thorpe Supermac: The Life of Harold Macmillan
Helen Dunmore The Betrayal
2012 Toby Harnden Dead Men Risen Winner [30][31]
Misha Glenny DarkMarket: CyberThieves, CyberCops and You Shortlist [32]
Gavin Knight Hood Rat
Richard Lloyd Parry People Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucie Blackman
Siddhartha Deb The Beautiful and the Damned: Life in the New India
Julia Lovell The Opium War
2013 A. T. Williams A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa Winner [33][34]
Carmen Bugan Burying the Typewriter Shortlist [35]
Pankaj Mishra From the Ruins of the Empire
Clive Stafford Smith Injustice
Richard Holloway Leaving Alexandria
Raja Shehadeh Occupation Diaries
Marie Colvin On the Front Line: The Collected Journalism of Marie Colvin [34][35]
2014 Alan Johnson This Boy: A Memoir of a Childhood Winner [36][37]
Gaiutra Bahadur Coolie Woman Shortlist [38]
Charles Moore Not for Turning
David Goodhart The British Dream
Frank Dikötter The Tragedy of Liberation
James Fergusson The World's Most Dangerous Place
2015 James Meek Private Island: Why Britain Now Belongs to Someone Else Winner [39][40]
Rana Dasgupta Capital: The Eruption of Delhi Shortlist [41]
Nick Davies Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch
Dan Davies In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile
David Kynaston Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957–1959
Louisa Lim People's Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited
2016 Arkady Ostrovsky The Invention of Russia Winner [42]
Wendell Steavenson Circling the Square Shortlist [43]
John Kay Other People's Money
Jason Burke The New Threat from Islamic Militancy
Ferdinand Mount The Tears of the Rajas
Emma Sky The Unravelling
2017 John Bew Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee Winner [44]
Ruth Dudley Edwards The Seven: The Lives and Legacies of the Founding Fathers of the Irish Republic Shortlist [45]
Tim Shipman All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain's Political Class
J. D. Taylor Island Story: Journeys Around Unfamiliar Britain
Adrian Tempany And the Sun Shines Now: How Hillsborough and the Premier League Changed Britain
Gary Younge Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives
2018 Darren McGarvey Poverty Safari Winner [46]
Christopher de Bellaigue The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle Between Faith and Reason Shortlist [47][48]
Cordelia Fine Testosterone Rex
Mark Mazower What You Did Not Tell
Ali Smith Winter
Clair Wills Lovers and Strangers: An Immigrant History of Post-War Britain

Beginning with 2019, the Book prize was split into fiction and non-fiction categories.[49][50]

The Orwell Prize for Journalism (1994–present )

Year Recipient Result Ref.
1994 Neal Ascherson Winner
1995 Paul Foot Winner
1995 Tim Laxton Winner
1996 Melanie Phillips Winner
1997 Ian Bell Winner [51]
1998 Polly Toynbee Winner
1999 Robert Fisk Winner [52]
2000 David McKittrick Winner
2001 David Aaronovitch Winner
2002 Yasmin Alibhai-Brown Winner [53]
2003 Brian Sewell Winner
2004 Vanora Bennett Winner
2005 Matthew Parris Winner
2006 Timothy Garton Ash Winner [54]
Steve Richards Shortlist
Oliver Burkeman
Lesley Riddoch
Jonathan Freedland
Bronwen Maddox
2007 Peter Beaumont Winner [55]
John Rentoul Shortlist
Martin Bright
Peter Hitchens
2008 Johann Hari (revoked in 2011) Winner
Clive James Shortlist
Anton La Guardia
Andrew Rawnsley
Mary Riddell
Paul Vallely
2009 Patrick Cockburn Winner [56]
Peter Oborne Shortlist
Peter Hitchens
Henry Porter
Donald Macintyre
Catherine Bennett
2010 Peter Hitchens Winner [57]
Paul Lewis Shortlist
John Arlidge
Hamish McRae
David Reynolds
Anthony Loyd
Amelia Gentleman
2011 Jenni Russell Winner [58]
Rachel Shabi Shortlist
Philip Collins
Gideon Rachman
Declan Walsh
Catherine Mayer
Amelia Gentleman
2012 Amelia Gentleman Winner [59]
Edward Docx Shortlist
Daniel Finkelstein
David James Smith
Simon Kuper
Paul Lewis
2013 Andrew Norfolk Winner [60]
Tom Bergin
Kim Sengupta Shortlist
Jamil Anderlini
Ian Cobain
Christina Patterson
2014 Ghaith Abdul-Ahad Winner [61]
James Astill Shortlist
Jonathan Freedland
Aditya Chakrabortty
Mary Riddell
AA Gill
Gideon Rachman
2015 Martin Chulov Winner [62]
Rosie Blau Shortlist
Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi
Peter Ross
Mary Riddell
Kim Sengupta
2016 Iona Craig Winner [63][64]
Gideon Rachman
Douglas Murray Shortlist
Oliver Bullough
David Gardner
Shiraz Maher
Louise Tickle
2017 Fintan O'Toole Winner
Rosie Blau Shortlist
Carole Cadwalladr
Aditya Chakrabortty
Nick Cohen
John Harris
Paul Wood
2018 Carole Cadwalladr Winner
Edward Carr Shortlist [65]
Sam Knight
Anthony Loyd
Jack Shenker
Janice Turner
2019 Suzanne Moore Winner [66]
Steve Bloomfield Shortlist [67][9]
2020 Janice Turner Winner [12]
John Harris and John Domokos Nominee [68]
2021 John Harris and John Domokos Winner [68][16]
George Arbuthnott and Jonathan Calvert Shortlist [69]
Chloe Hadjimatheou
Sarah O’Connor
Megha Rajagopalan and Alison Killing
Gary Younge [69][70]
2022 George Monbiot Winner [71]
Ali Fowle, Aun Qi Koh, and Drew Ambrose Shortlist [72]
Billy Perrigo
Daniel Trilling
Gabriel Gatehouse and Lucy Proctor

The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain's Social Evils (2015–present)

Year Author(s) Title Publisher Result Ref.
2015 Alison Holt Care of the elderly and vulnerable BBC Winner
Randeep Ramesh Casino, style Gambling as a Social Ill Shortlist
Nick Mathiason A Great British Housing Crisis
Mark Townsend Serco: a hunt for the truth inside Yarl's Wood
George Arbuthnott Slaves in peril on the sea
Aditya Chakrabortty London Housing Crisis
2016 Nicci Gerrard Words fail us: Dementia and the arts Winner [73]
Sally Gainsbury, Sarah Neville, and John Burn-Murdoch The Austerity State Financial Times Shortlist
Jackie Long, Job Rabkin, and Lee Sorrell Detention Undercover: Inside Yarl's Wood Channel 4
Michael Buchanan Investigation into NHS Failings
David Cohen, Matt Writtle, and Kiran Mensah The Estate We're In London Evening Standard
David Leigh, James Ball, Juliette Garside, and David Pegg The HSBC Files The Guardian
2017 Felicity Lawrence The gangsters on England's doorstep The Guardian Winner
Billy Kenber Drug profiteering exposed The Times Shortlist
Tom Warren, Jane Bradley, and Richard Holmes The RBS Dash for Cash BuzzFeed News
Ros Wynne-Jones Real Britain Daily Mirror
Mark Townsend From Brighton the Battlefield The Guardian
Anna Hall, Erica Gornal, and Louise Tickle Behind Closed Doors True Vision Aire and The Guardian
2018 Sarah O’Connor, John Burn-Murdoch, and Christopher Nunn On the Edge Financial Times Winner
Andy Davies, Anja Popp, and Dai Bakera Her Name Was Lindy Channel 4 News Shortlist
Joe Plomin Behind Locked Doors BBC Panorama
Patrick Strudwick This Man Had His Leg Broken in Four Places Because He Is Gay BuzzFeed UK
Mark Townsend Four young black men die: were they killed by the police? The Observer
Jennifer Williams Spice Manchester Evening News
2019 Max Daly Behind County Lines Vice Winner [9]
2020 Ian Birrell Winner [12]
2021 Annabel Deas Hope High BBC Radio 5 Live Winner [16]
Robert Wright Behind Closed Doors: Modern Slavery in Kensington The Financial Times Shortlist [69]
Sirin Kale Lost to the Virus The Guardian
Simon Akam Britain and the Pandemic 1843
Tom Kelly, Susie Coen, and Sophie Borland Exposing the Care Homes Catastrophe Mail Investigation Team
Jane Bradley and Amanda Taub Failings in Britain Leave Victims of Domestic Violence in Peril The New York Times
Richard Watson Hate Crime BBC Newsnight

Blog category (2009–2012)

Year Author Title Result Ref.
2009 Richard Horton NightJack: An English Detective Winner
Iain Dale Shortlist
Paul Mason
Alix Mortimer
Owen Polley
Andrew Sparrow
2010 Winston Smith (pseudonym) Working with the Underclass Winner [74]
David Allen Green Jack of Kent Shortlist
Tim Marshall Foreign Matters
Madam Miaow (pseudonym) Madam Miaow says: Of culture, pop-culture and petri dishes
Laurie Penny Penny Red and others
Hopi Sen Hopi Sen
2011 Graeme Archer Winner [75]
Molly Bennett Shortlist
Cath Elliott [76]
Daniel Hannan [77]
Nelson Jones
Paul Mason
Duncan McLaren [78]
2012 Rangers Tax Case Winner
Lisa Ansell Lisa Ansell Shortlist
Ms Baroque (pseudonym) Baroque in Hackney
BendyGirl (pseudonym) Benefit Scrounging Scum
Alex Massie Alex Massie
Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi
Wiggy (pseudonym) Beneath The Wig

Special prizes

In addition to the four regular prizes, the judges may choose to award a special prize.

In 2007, BBC's Newsnight programme was given a special prize, the judges noting, "When we were discussing the many very fine pieces of journalism that were submitted Newsnight just spontaneously emerged in our deliberations as the most precious and authoritative home for proper reporting of important stories, beautifully and intelligently crafted by journalists of rare distinction."

In 2008, Clive James was given a special award.

In 2009, Tony Judt was given a lifetime achievement award.

In 2012, a posthumous award was made to Christopher Hitchens in 2012, his book Arguably having been longlisted that year.[31][30]

In 2013, Marie Colvin received a special prize for On the Front Line. She had been killed earlier that year while on assignment in Homs, Syria.[34]

In 2014, the Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland was given a special award, after having been shortlisted for the Journalism Prize that year.

Controversy

In 2008 the winner in the Journalism category was Johann Hari. In July 2011 the Council of the Orwell Prize decided to revoke Hari's award and withdraw the prize. Public announcement was delayed as Hari was then under investigation by The Independent for professional misconduct.[79] In September 2011 Hari announced that he was returning his prize "as an act of contrition for the errors I made elsewhere, in my interviews", although he "stands by the articles that won the prize".[80] A few weeks later, the Council of the Orwell Prize confirmed that Hari had returned the plaque but not the £2,000 prize money, and issued a statement that one of the articles submitted for the prize, "How multiculturalism is betraying women", published by The Independent in April 2007, "contained inaccuracies and conflated different parts of someone else's story (specifically, a report in Der Spiegel)".[81]

Hari did not initially return the prize money of £2,000.[82] He later offered to repay the money, but Political Quarterly, responsible for paying the prize money in 2008, instead invited Hari to make a donation to English PEN, of which George Orwell was a member. Hari arranged with English PEN to make a donation equal to the value of the prize, to be paid in installments once Hari returned to work at The Independent.[83] However, Hari did not return to work at The Independent.

References

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External links