Each year, our independent panels award prizes to the writing and reporting which best meets the spirit of George Orwell's own ambition 'to make political writing into an art'. There are currently four prizes: 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 Western world has turned its back on refugees, fuelling one of the most devastating human rights disasters in history. In August 2018, Sally Hayden received a Facebook message. 'Hi sister Sally, we need your help,' it read. 'We are under bad condition in Libya prison. If you have time, I will tell you all the story.' More messages followed from more refugees. They told stories of enslavement and trafficking, torture and murder, tuberculosis and sexual abuse. And they revealed something else: that they were all incarcerated as a direct result of European policy. From there began a staggering investigation into the migrant crisis across North Africa. This book follows the shocking experiences of refugees seeking sanctuary, but it also surveys the bigger picture: the negligence of NGOs and corruption within the United Nations. The economics of the twenty-first-century slave trade and the EU's bankrolling of Libyan militias. The trials of people smugglers, the frustrations of aid workers, the loopholes refugees seek out and the role of social media in crowdfunding ransoms. Who was accountable for the abuse? Where were the people finding solutions? Why wasn't it being widely reported? At its heart, this is a book about people who have made unimaginable choices, risking everything to survive in a system that wants them to be silent and disappear.
- Browns Books Synopsis
George Orwell cared not only about what he wrote, but how he wrote it. His assessment of what makes for good writing – and bad writing – is as relevant today as it was in 1946, when his essay Why I Write was published. The following passage from Why I Write illuminates the central qualities The Orwell Prizes reward Political purpose, Clarity of expression, Intellectual courage, Critical thought and Artful writing.