Orwell Prize longlists for Political Writing and Political Fiction announced

Orwell Prize longlists for Political Writing and Political Fiction announced

Bernardine Evaristo, Amelia Gentleman and Kate Clanchy are among the longlisted authors for this year's Orwell Prize for Political Writing and Orwell Prize for Political Fiction (see full listings below). 

This is the second year that the prizes for fiction and non-fiction have been separated, previously umbrelled under The Orwell Book Prize. The wide range of subjects on the longlist are considered "fiercely relevant" by the prize and have been chosen because "they live up to Orwell's stated ambition: 'to make political writing into an art'". 

The 12 books on the longlist for The Orwell Prize for Political Writing cover surveillance, eduction, gender bias, the environment and political power. 

Tim Bouverie's Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill and the Road to War and Amelia Gentleman's The Windrush Betrayal: Exposing the Hostile Environment are featured, along with Kate Clanchy's Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me.

Stephanie Flanders, chair of judges for Political Writing, said: "None of us are thinking about life in quite the same way as we were even a few weeks ago. Politics looks and feels very different too. But the books on this year’s longlist are not about ordinary politics. In fact, most aren’t about mainstream politics at all. They are, though, political in the most important sense: they cast fresh light on something that matters and perhaps inspires us to consider how things might be better. They are also – all 12 of them – a good and satisfying read. We surely need those more than ever."

The second prize, The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, is sponsored by the Orwell Estate’s literary agent A M Heath, and George Orwell’s son, Richard Blair. This year's 13-strong longlist is dominated by female writers and the settings range from plague-ridden Medieval Europe to modern-day Britain and into the future. Booker Prize-winner Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo gets a nomination, as does Edna O'Brien's Girl

Jude Kelly, chair of judges for Political Fiction, commented: "Our longlist for this year's Orwell Prize for Political Fiction pays homage to the ability of the writer's voice to absorb political power structures and return them to us in stories of personal identity, community tensions, how the long tail of history impacts on the present, and the emerging strength of women to define what 'political' means.”

The shortlists for both prizes will be announced in mid-May. The prizes are worth £3,000 each and the winners will be announced on George Orwell's birthday, the 25th June.

The full longlist for Political Writing:
Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill and the Road to War by Tim Bouverie (Bodley Head)
Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me by Kate Clanchy (Picador)
Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez (Chatto & Windus)
The Windrush Betrayal: Exposing the Hostile Environment by Amelia Gentleman (Guardian Faber)
Follow Me, Akhi: The Online World of British Muslims by Hussein Kesvani (Hurst)
Maoism: A Global History by Julia Lovell (Bodley Head)
The Ministry of Truth: A Biography of George Orwell’s 1984 by Dorian Lynskey (Picador)
Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane (HamishHamilton)
Guest House for Young Widows: Among the Women of ISIS by Azadeh Moaveni (Scribe)
Margaret Thatcher—Herself Alone: The Authorized Biography Vol 3 by Charles Moore (Allen Lane)
Kremlin Winter: Russia and the Second Coming of Vladimir Putin by Robert Service (Picador)
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff (Profile)

The full longlist for Political Fiction:
This Paradise by Ruby Cowling (Boiler House Press)
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann (Galley Beggar Press)
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Hamish Hamilton)
The Wall by John Lanchester (Faber & Faber)
The Topeka School by Ben Lerner (Granta Books)
The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy (Hamish Hamilton)
Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke (Serpent's Tail)
To Calais, in Ordinary Time by James Meek (Canongate Books)
Girl by Edna O'Brien (Faber & Faber)
The Travelers by Regina Porter (Jonathan Cape)
Broken Jaw by Minoli Salgado (the87press)
Spring by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Fleet)

The Political Writing and Political Fiction prize will be announced together with The Orwell Prize for Journalism and The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils. The longlists for the last two prizes will be announced on Thursday 9th April.