Orwell Prize 2011 Longlists Announced

March 30, 2011

  • 18 longlisted books range from Soviet Russia to modern Britain, from the rule of law to feminism, and from ceramics to the Caucasus
  • 15 journalists make extended longlist
  • 22 bloggers include Tory MEP, mainstream journalists and a prisoner

The longlists for this year’s Orwell Prize, Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing, have been announced today, Wednesday 30th March 2011, at a special event in London.

The longlist announcements (from 7pm) were followed by a discussion on political blogging, featuring Richard Horton (winner of the Blog Prize 2009 as pseudonymous police blogger, Jack Night) and David Allen Green (shortlisted for the Blog Prize 2010 as ‘Jack of Kent’, judge of this year’s Blog Prize), chaired by Jean Seaton (director of the Orwell Prize).

Book Prize

A record 213 books were whittled down to 18 by this year’s judges, Jim Naughtie (presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Today and Bookclub programmes, former chair of the Man Booker Prize judges), Ursula Owen (founder director of Virago Press, former editor of Index on Censorship, project director of the Free Word Centre) and Will Skidelsky (books editor of The Observer).

The longlisted books are:

Bingham, Tom The Rule of Law (Allen Lane)

Bullough, Oliver Let Our Fame Be Great: Journeys Among the Defiant People of the Caucasus (Penguin)

Butcher, Tim Chasing the Devil: The Search for Africa’s Fighting Spirit (Chatto & Windus)

Chang, Ha-Joon 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism (Penguin)

De Waal, Edmund The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance (Chatto & Windus)

Dunmore, Helen The Betrayal (Fig Tree)

Hall, John A. Ernest Gellner (Verso)

Hatherley, Owen A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain (Verso)

Hitchens, Christopher Hitch-22 (Atlantic Books)

Malik, Zaiba We Are a Muslim, Please (William Heinemann)

Moqadam, Afsaneh Death to the Dictator! (The Bodley Head)

Morris, Ian Why the West Rules for Now (Profile)

Mullin, Chris Decline and Fall (Profile)

O’Toole, Fintan Enough is Enough (Faber)

Richards, Steve Whatever It Takes: The Real Story of Gordon Brown and New Labour (Fourth Estate)

Spufford, Francis Red Plenty (Faber)

Thorpe, D. R. Supermac: The Life of Harold MacMillan (Chatto & Windus)

Walter, Natasha Living Dolls (Virago)

Tim Butcher was previously longlisted in 2008 for Blood River, while Fintan O’Toole was longlisted in 2010 for Ship of Fools. Steve Richards has previously been recognised in the Journalism Prize, making the shortlist in 2007.

Director of the Prize, Jean Seaton, said: ‘These books show that political writing can be tender or chilling, furious or forensic, magisterial – or very funny. The whole range of political life is distilled into tremendous prose in these books.’

Journalism Prize

This year’s longlist of 15 journalists (rather than the usual 12) has come from a record field of 87 journalists. This year’s judges are Martin Bright (political editor of the Jewish Chronicle, founder and chief executive of New Deal of the Mind, shortlisted for the Journalism Prize 2007) and Michela Wrong (journalist and author, previously shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for all three of her books).

The longlisted journalists are:

Carroll, Rory The Guardian; The Observer

Cohen, David Evening Standard

Collins, Phillip The Times

Gardner, David Financial Times

Gentleman, Amelia The Guardian

Gilligan, Andrew Sunday Telegraph; Channel 4; The Guardian; The Spectator

Lawson, Dominic The Independent

Mayer, Catherine TIME

Murray, Douglas Standpoint; The Spectator; Literary Review; Wall Street Journal Europe

Rachman, Gideon Financial Times

Russell, Jenni Sunday Times; The Guardian

Shabi, Rachel The Guardian

Shenker, Jack Prospect; Guernica; The Observer; The Guardian; New Statesman

Steele, Jonathan The Guardian; London Review of Books

Walsh, Declan The Guardian; Granta

Amelia Gentleman is longlisted for a second consecutive year, having made last year’s shortlist. Jonathan Steele was previously longlisted in 2009, while David Gardner’s book, Last Chance: The Middle East in the Balance was longlisted for last year’s Book Prize.

Director of the Prize, Jean Seaton, said: ‘Some of these journalists show us the hidden corners of Britain and the world; some of the writing is razor sharp indictment; many of the journalists in many different ways are intrepid. They all represent different strands of Orwell’s legacy.’

Blog Prize

22 bloggers (rather than the usual 12) have been longlisted from a record 205 entries, by judges David Allen Green (shortlisted for the Blog Prize 2010 as ‘Jack of Kent’) and Gaby Hinsliff (journalist and blogger, former political editor of The Observer).

The longlisted bloggers are:

Adam Wagner UK Human Rights Blog (http://ukhumanrightsblog.com)

Andrew Sparrow Politics Live with Andrew Sparrow (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/series/politics-live-with-andrew-sparrow)

Anton Vowl Enemies of Reason (http://enemiesofreason.co.uk)

Carl Gardner Head of Legal (www.headoflegal.com); and Comment is Free, The Wardman Wire, Anglotopia

Cath Elliott Too Much To Say For Myself (http://toomuchtosayformyself.com/); and Liberal Conspiracy, Comment is Free

Cathy Newman The FactCheck Blog – Channel 4 News (http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/)

Crispian Jago Science, Reason & Critical Thinking (http://crispian-jago.blogspot.com/)

Dan Hodges Labour Uncut (http://labour-uncut.co.uk)

Daniel Hannan Daniel Hannan – Telegraph Blogs (www.hannan.co.uk)

David Osler David Osler (http://www.davidosler.com/) and Liberal Conspiracy

Dr Petra Dr Petra’s Blog (http://www.drpetra.co.uk/blog)

Duncan McLaren Visiting Mabel (http://www.saga.co.uk/health/carers/blog/visiting-mabel/archive.asp)

Graeme Archer ConservativeHome (http://conservativehome.blogs.com/centreright/graeme_archer/index.html)

Heresiarch Heresy Corner (http://heresycorner.blogspot.com)

Juliet Jacques A Transgender Journey (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/series/transgender-journey)

Molly Bennett Mid-Wife Crisis (http://mid-wife-crisis-blog.blogspot.com/)

Osama Diab The Chronikler (http://chronikler.com/) and Comment is Free, New Statesman, Worldpress

Paul Mason Idle Scrawl – BBC Newsnight (www.bbc.co.uk/paulmason)

Paul Waugh Paul Waugh (http://waugh.standard.co.uk) and The Waugh Room (http://www.politicshome.com/waughroom.html)

Penny Red Laurie Penny – pop culture and radical politics with a feminist twist (http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/laurie-penny)

Prisoner Ben Ben’s Prison Blog (http://prisonerben.blogspot.com/)

Sunder Katwala Next Left (http://www.nextleft.org/) and Left Foot Forward, The Staggers (New Statesman)

Andrew Sparrow and Paul Mason were both shortlisted for the first Orwell Blog Prize in 2009 (Mason was also cited when Newsnight were presented with a Special Prize in 2007), while David Osler (longlisted last year), Heresiarch (longlisted in 2009) and Penny Red (Laurie Penny, shortlisted last year) make the longlist for a second time. Cathy Newman was longlisted for last year’s Journalism Prize.

Director of the Prize, Jean Seaton, said: ‘Blogging is evolving under our eyes, its purposes shifting. Public service watchdog? Clever reporting from new spaces in the political process? Telling it like it is in uncomfortable places? Different blogs are all of those and other things: it’s an increasingly sophisticated world.’

This year’s shortlists will be announced on 26th April, before a debate on the question, ‘Is it time to make monarchy history?’.

The winners of the Orwell Prizes – each worth £3000 – will be announced at an awards ceremony at Church House, Westminster, on 18th 17th May.

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. The Orwell Prize is Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing. Every year, prizes are awarded to the work – for the book, for the journalism and for the blog – which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. Each Prize is worth £3000.

2. The Prize was founded by the late Professor Sir Bernard Crick in its present form in 1993, awarding its first prizes in 1994. The Media Standards Trust, Political Quarterly and Orwell Trust are partners in running the Prize, through the Council of the Orwell Prize. Richard Blair (Orwell’s son), A. M. Heath and Thomson Reuters are sponsors.

3. For further information, please contact the Deputy Director, Gavin Freeguard, at gavin.freeguard@mediastandardstrust.org or 0207 229 5722.