Titles from Dialogue Books and Granta have made the longlists for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing and Prize for Political Fiction.
The Political Writing longlist sees Granta claim three titles, including Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition and Compromise in Putin's Russia by Joshua Yaffa, Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town by Barbara Demick and Labours of Love: The Crisis of Care by Madeleine Bunting.
On the Political Fiction longlist, Costa Prize-winning title The Mermaid of Black Conch (Peepal Tree Press) has been listed, alongside Brit Bennet's The Vanishing Half ( Dialogue Books) and Leave the World Behind (Bloomsbury) by Rumaan Alam. Titles by indies including Atlantic Books are also represented, alongside multiple offerings from Hurst and Bloomsbury.
The 25 books across the two longlists represent the "best book-length political writing being published today, on both international and domestic subjects". The 13 books on the 2021 Political Writing longlist take in conspiracies, forgotten histories, the environment and political power. These books are described as "shar[ing] a concern with the fidelity to truth, both in restoring histories of people and the consequences of widespread mistrust in our institutions".
The full Orwell Prize for Political Writing longlist:
Twilight of Democracy: The Failure of Politics and the Parting of Friends by Anne Applebaum (Allen Lane)
Labours of Love: The Crisis of Care by Madeleine Bunting (Granta)
Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town by Barbara Demick (Granta)
The Hitler Conspiracies: The Third Reich and the Paranoid Imagination by Richard Evans (Allen Lane)
Why the Germans Do it Better: Notes from a Grown-Up Country by John Kampfner (Atlantic Books)
Our Bodies, Their Battlefield: What War Does to Women by Christina Lamb (William Collins)
History Has Begun: The Birth of a New America by Bruno Maçães (Hurst Publishers)
How Spies Think: 10 Lessons in Intelligence by David Omand (Viking)
African Europeans: An Untold History by Olivette Otele (Hurst Publishers)
English Pastoral: An Inheritance by James Rebanks (Allen Lane)
Recollections of My Non-Existence by Rebecca Solnit (Granta)
The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery by Michael Taylor (Bodley Head)
Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition and Compromise in Putin's Russia by Joshua Yaffa (Granta)
The judges for the political prize included Anand Menon (chair), professor of European politics and foreign affairs at Kings College London; Angela Saini, journalist and broadcaster, and author; Richard Ekins, professor of law and constitutional government at the University of Oxford; and Rosemary Goring, author and columnist with the Herald and the Sunday Herald.
Commenting on the longlist, Menon said: "Selecting 13 books from the wonderful selection of works submitted has not been easy. However, we are delighted with a longlist that covers everything from race and identity to conspiracy theories, from the development of modern Tibet to the lessons we can learn from Germany, and from the problems confronting the care sector, to the challenges facing spies. This collection of books is a testament to the role that political writing can play not only in explaining but also challenging the state of our world."
This is the third year that the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, sponsored by the Orwell Estate’s literary agents, A M Heath, and George Orwell’s son, Richard Blair, has been awarded. This year’s longlist of 12 ranges from counterfactual historical fiction, reflections on contemporary issues society faces, to capturing the general state of anxiety induced by apocalyptic visions of climate breakdown.
The full Orwell Prize for Political Fiction longlist:
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (Bloomsbury)
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Dialogue Books)
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (Faber)
A Lover's Discourse by Xialou Guo (Chatto & Windus)
Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah (Bloomsbury)
Apeirogon by Colum McCann (Bloomsbury)
Summerwater by Sarah Moss (Picador)
Weather by Jenny Offill (Granta)
The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey (Peepal Tree Press)
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfield (Transworld)
Summer by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador)
The judges for the Political Fiction Prize are: Delia Jarrett-Macauley (chair), former winner of The Orwell Prize for Moses, Citizen and Me; Andrea Stuart, author; Bea Carvalho, head fiction buyer at Waterstones; and Mark Ford, professor at University College London and author.
Jarrett-Macauley said: "Congratulations to the longlisted authors. The quality of submissions was extremely high, but all of these books demanded to be on our longlist.
"While this is a truly international list of books, it also reflects the way that global politics is experienced: as national, local and personal. Fiction can map these connections in fresh and exciting ways, showing us complex resonances across history, and between continents. Ranging from the quietly political to overt explorations of issues such as war, race and climate change, these 12 novels demonstrate that politics is not just a question of the intellect, but of the imagination too."
The shortlists for both prizes will be announced in mid-May and the winners of the prizes, which are both worth £3,000, will be announced at the end of June, along with the winner of The Orwell Prize for Journalism and The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils.
Longlists for both The Orwell Prize for Journalism and Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils will be also be announced Friday 9th April 2021.
- Bloomsbury and Granta claim three each on Orwell Prize shortlists
- Mendez, Anappara and Persaud longlisted for Authors' Club Best First Novel Award
- Ali Smith and Joshua Yaffa win Orwell Prizes
- Roffey, Mars-Jones and Boyce longlisted for RSL Ondaatje Prize
- Mendez, Tempest and Stuart longlisted for Polari Prizes