James Meek's Private Island (Verso Books) has won the Orwell Prize for books, which celebrates political writing.
Meek was announced as the winner of the annual prize at a ceremony at the University of Westminster yesterday (21st May).
Private Island explores the phenomenon of privatisation in the UK. Gillian Slovo, a judge for the prize, said: "As a jury we applied the ‘Orwell test’ – making political writing into an art – and decided that this is what James Meek has done. He has not written a polemic or an ideological tract, but a careful and elegant exploration of what exactly privatisation has produced in our country. Political writing in Orwell’s tradition, and a prize by which to recognise it, has never been more needed.”
Slovo was joined on the judging panel by Claire Armistead and Tony Wright.
Meek wins £3,000 and a trophy presented by George Orwell's son, Richard Blair. As well as a prize for books, the Orwell Prize also gives awards for journalism and a Joseph Rowntree Foundation-sponsored prize for exposing Britain's social evils.
Martin Chulov of the Guardian won the journalism prize for his work on the Middle East, while Alison Holt of the BBC won the prize for exposing social evils for her work on "Panorama", investigating abuse in care homes.
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