Orwell Prizes 2021: Longlists for all four categories announced; winners to be declared around 25 June

FP Staff
·4 min read

On Friday, 9 April, The Orwell Foundation announced the longlists for its four categories €" The Orwell Prize for Political Writing, The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, The Orwell Prize for Journalism, and The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain's Social Evils.

The website announcement mentions how the "[T]he borderless nature of the coronavirus crisis is reflected in the international scope of the stories, from works of history that illuminate our political predicaments, to novels that bring fresh, human perspectives on political stories, all revealing how the virus has intensified pre-existing anxieties, whilst introducing a new set of concerns."

While this year's nominations for political writing boast of works that deal with conspiracies, environmental crisis and political power, the longlist of 12 works for political fiction "range across place and time, from counterfactual historical fiction, to reflections on identity and community, to apocalyptic visions of climate breakdown." Sponsored by the Orwell Estate's literary agents AH Heath, and Orwell's son Richard Blair, this is the third year that the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction has been awarded. It recognises outstanding novels and anthologies of short stories originally published in the UK that shed light on major social and political issues from the past or present.

In addition, The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain's Social Evils, sponsored by The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, encourages, sustains and emphasises on "original, insightful, and impactful reporting on social issues in the UK that has enhanced the public understanding of social problems and public policy, and welcomes reporting that uses investigative intelligence to pursue new kinds of story, ones that may also extend the reach of traditional media."

The longlists for 2021 are €"

The Orwell Prize for Political Writing

Twilight of Democracy: The Failure of Politics and the Parting of Friends by Anne Applebaum (Allen Lane)

Labours of Love: The Crisis of Care by Madeleine Bunting (Granta)

Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town by Barbara Demick (Granta)

The Hitler Conspiracies: The Third Reich and the Paranoid Imagination by Richard Evans (Allen Lane)

Why the Germans Do it Better: Notes from a Grown-Up Country by John Kampfner (Atlantic Books)

Our Bodies, Their Battlefield: What War Does to Women by Christina Lamb (William Collins)

History Has Begun: The Birth of a New America by Bruno Maçães (Hurst Publishers)

How Spies Think: 10 Lessons in Intelligence by David Omand (Viking)

African Europeans: An Untold History by Olivette Otele (Hurst Publishers)

English Pastoral: An Inheritance by James Rebanks (Allen Lane)

Recollections of My Non-Existence by Rebecca Solnit (Granta)

The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery by Michael Taylor (Bodley Head)

Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition and Compromise in Putin's Russia by Joshua Yaffa (Granta)

The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (Bloomsbury)

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Dialogue Books)

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (Faber)

A Lover's Discourse by Xialou Guo (Chatto & Windus)

Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah (Bloomsbury)

Apeirogon by Colum McCann (Bloomsbury)

Summerwater by Sarah Moss (Picador)

Weather by Jenny Offill (Granta)

The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey (Peepal Tree Press)

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfield (Transworld)

Summer by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador)

The Orwell Prize for Journalism

George Arbuthnott and Jonathan Calvert (Sunday Times)

Sarah Churchwell (Prospect; New York Review of Books; New Statesman; The Guardian)

Matthew d'Ancona (Tortoise Media)

Sophie Elmhirst (The Guardian; 1843)

Chloe Hadjimatheou (BBC Radio 4)

John Harris and John Domokos (The Guardian)

Ciaran Jenkins (Channel 4 News)

Nesrine Malik (The Guardian)

Tom McTague (The Atlantic)

Sarah O'Connor (Financial Times)

Megha Rajagopalan and Alison Killing (BuzzFeed News)

Jack Shenker (Tortoise Media; The Guardian; Soundings)

J Tsalov, C Grozev, A Toler, P van Huis and R Dobrokhotov (Bellingcat)

Gary Younge (New York Review of Books; New Statesman; Financial Times)

The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain's Social Evils

Robert Wright (The Financial Times): 'Behind Closed Doors: Modern Slavery in Kensington'

Simon Akam (The Economist's 1843 Magazine): 'Britain and the Pandemic'

Tom Kelly, Susie Coen and Sophie Borland (Mail Investigation Team): 'Exposing the Care Homes Catastrophe

Jane Bradley and Amanda Taub (The New York Times): 'Failings in Britain Leave Victims of Domestic Violence in Peril'

Richard Watson (BBC Newsnight): 'Hate Crime'

Annabel Deas (BBC Radio 5 Live): 'Hope High'

Haroon Siddique (The Guardian): 'How and Why Black Britons Suffer Unequal Outcomes at the Hands of the Police'

Sirin Kale (The Guardian): 'Lost to the Virus'

Tam Hussein (ITV News; MENA): 'Modern Slavery in the UK'

Lewis Goodall (BBC Newsnight; The New Statesman): 'The Exams Fiasco'

Jennifer Williams (Manchester Evening News): 'The North in a Time of COVID'

Edward Docx (The New Statesman): 'The Peak

Emma Youle (HuffPost UK): 'This is Britain's Housing System in 2020: A Two-Part Investigation

Sophie Campbell (Prospect; British Educational Research Association; Medium): 'Victim, Incompetent, or Mentally Ill? How Women Navigate the Oppressive Environment of the 21st Century Prison'

Winners of the awards, following the spring announcement of the shortlists, will be declared around George Orwell's birthday on 25 June. Awardees will receive a sum of £3,000 each.

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