Update on Orwell Prize Investigation into Johann Hari

July 15, 2011

Following enquiries from the press and the public, we felt we should issue a statement on the progress of our investigation into Johann Hari’s Orwell Prize win.

Since our previous statement (issued on 30 June), we have been in constant correspondence with the judges from 2008 and our governing body, the Council of the Orwell Prize. We wrote to both Johann Hari and Simon Kelner, which included asking for assurances about the winning pieces. Following a reply from Johann Hari, we have written to both of them asking for some further clarification in relation to other allegations which have since come to light.

The Council of the Orwell Prize will be meeting next Thursday, 21st July, to consider our review of Johann Hari’s material and material submitted by the public before that time. We have received information from a variety of sources over the last few weeks. This material has also been sent to the 2008 judges.

We will make a further statement in due course, once our Council and judges have considered the evidence.

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 on 0207 229 5722.