Orwell Foundation to launch political fiction prize

Orwell Foundation to launch political fiction prize

The Orwell Foundation will next month launch a prize to celebrate novels or short stories that illuminate social and political themes through the art of narrative.

The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction will be sponsored by the Orwell estate’s literary agency, A. M. Heath, and George Orwell’s son, Richard Blair.

The Orwell Book Prize, which was previously for both non-fiction and fiction, will be renamed The Orwell Prize for Political Writing and will be open to non-fiction only. Both prizes are worth £3,000 and will be awarded annually on or around the anniversary of George Orwell’s birth, 25th June.

Bill Hamilton, m.d. of A. M. Heath, said: “In 2019 the literary agency A. M. Heath is marking its centenary at the heart of London’s literary life by investing in writers, both established ones and the next generation. The major donation we are making is in honour of the most important novelist at the heart of our business: George Orwell, best known of course for the two novels that define the 20th Century, Animal Farm and 1984.

“What could be more appropriate in a new age of political turmoil than a fiction prize, run by the Orwell Foundation, to focus not just on fable and satire but on the underlying politics that animates all social relations. We are very proud to share this with Richard Blair, George Orwell’s adopted son, whose generosity to the Orwell Foundation has been essential to its growth over many years.”

The four judges for the inaugural prize, one of whom will represent the English department of University College London, will be announced at The Orwell Lecture, given this year by Kamila Shamsie, on 13 November at UCL.  

The lecture, entitled 'Unbecoming British' and will explore 'citizenship, migration and the transformation of rights into privileges'.