Booker and Jhalak Prize winners Anna Burns and Guy Gunaratne are among the 12 novelists longlisted for the first Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.
The new prize, announced by the Orwell Foundation last November, will be awarded in June, marking 70 years since the publication of Nineteen Eighty Four. The longlist for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing, now restricted to non-fiction, was also announced today (7th May), featuring 15 titles.
Novels on the fiction list explore everything from the influence of social media, domestic politics, the reproductive rights of women and the plight of young refugees to the state of the US prison system.
Burns’ Milkman has been nominated alongside another Faber novel, Perfidious Albion by Sam Byers. In Our Mad and Furious City by Gunaratne (Tinder Press) also makes the cut, just days after he picked up the Jhalak Prize.
The longlist also features An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Oneworld), Brother by David Chariandy (Bloomsbury Publishing), House of Stone by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma (Atlantic Fiction), Ironopolis by Glen James Brown (Parthian Books), Ordinary People by Diana Evans (Chatto & Windus), Red Clocks by Leni Zumas (The Borough Press), Sabrina by Nick Drnaso (Granta), Silence is My Mother Tongue by Sulaiman Addonia (The Indigo Press) and The Ice Migration by Jacqueline Crooks (Peepal Tree Press).
Sponsored by AM Heath and Orwell’s son Richard Blair, the £3,000 prize will be judged by broadcaster Tom Sutcliffe, Sam Leith, literary editor of the Spectator, author Preti Taneja and Dr Xine Yao, lecturer in American Literature to 1900 at University College London
Sutcliffe, the chair of judges, said: “It’s a list which acknowledges that the politics in a book can often be found between the lines, rather than on them, and that making your voice heard can sometimes be the most political act of all. Our selected titles range from fictions about the domestic politics of private life to stories about the increasingly strained politics of our public life, books that are funny, anguished, wry and enraged, and sometimes a combination of all those qualities.
“No book was ‘snubbed’ in the compiling of this list. Our excellent panel enjoyed and admired many books that don’t appear here but in the thoughtful, courteous and, for me, often illuminating politics of our deliberations these were the twelve that finally prevailed. We’re proud to recommend them to you.”
The non-fiction list includes biographies of De Gaulle and Marie Colvin, the opioid crisis in America and a memoir exploring identity, guilt and belonging in Germany.
The judges for the 2019 Orwell Prize for Political Writing are chair Tulip Siddiq MP, Ted Hodgkinson, head of literature and spoken word at Southbank Centre, Robbie Millen, literary editor of the Times, and Helen Pankhurst, author, women’s rights activist and international development practitioner.
Shortlists for both prizes will be announced in early June and the winners of the prizes, both worth £3,000, will be unveiled on Orwell’s birthday, 25th June, at UCL, together with the winner of The Orwell Prize for Journalism and The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils.
The full longlist for The Orwell Prize for Political Writing is:
A Certain Idea of France: The Life of Charles de Gaulle by Julian Jackson, (Allen Lane)
American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts by Chris McGreal (Faber & Faber)
Bad Girls: A History of Rebels and Renegades by Caitlin Davies (John Murray)
Heimat: A German Family Album by Nora Krug (Particular Books)
Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain by James Bloodworth (Atlantic Books)
In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum (Chatto & Windus)
Moneyland: Why Thieves And Crooks Now Rule The World And How To Take It Back by Oliver Bullough (Profile Books)
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala (Two Roads Books)
Nightmarch: Among India's Revolutionary Guerrillas by Alpa Shah (C Hurst & Co Publishers)
Our Boys: The Story of a Paratrooper by Helen Parr (Allen Lane)
Say Nothing: A True Story Of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Radden Keefe, (William Collins)
The Growth Delusion The Wealth and Well-Being of Nations by David Pilling (Bloomsbury Publishing)
The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú (Bodley Head)
The People vs Tech: How the internet is killing democracy (and how we save it) by Jamie Bartlett (Ebury Press)
Why We Get The Wrong Politicians by Isabel Hardman (Atlantic Books)