Press release: Orwell Prize debate to open Orwell Festival Weekend

August 22, 2012, Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, UK.  The Orwell Prize, one of Europe’s most renowned literary competitions, is joining forces with the George Orwell Festival to create a flagship event to open the George Orwell Festival Weekend taking place 20th-23rd September 2012.

The evening debate at Letchworth’s historic Spirella Building on 20th September will feature a panel of distinguished speakers who will consider the question of ‘Poverty Then and Now: Orwell and his Successors’. The panel includes authors Stephen Armstrong and Gavin Knight, academic and Orwell archivist Dr Michael Sayeau, and Jacqueline Crooks, director of the Befriend a Family organisation.

The George Orwell Festival Weekend is organised by a volunteer team from around Hertfordshire, including representatives from the village of Wallington, near Baldock, where Orwell leased a cottage between 1936 and 1947. It follows on from last year’s highly successful 2011 George Orwell Festival, a community-based multi-streamed week of events celebrating the life and work of this respected and influential author, that attracted
some 1,000 visitors to a week of events. Other events scheduled for this September’s Festival include poetry readings, walks, and themed talks.

“The next full George Orwell Festival is scheduled for October 2013, but in the meantime we wanted to keep the Festival flag flying this year by putting together a shorter, four-day celebration,” says Festival committee chair Richard Hallmark. “We are thrilled to welcome the Orwell Prize to the proceedings. Its support lends special resonance to the endeavour.”

“The Orwell Prize is Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing. We take argument about values and issues raised by Orwell’s writing around the country and we have a continued interest in raising issues of social justice,” says Jean Seaton, director of the Orwell Prize.

“We are delighted to be returning to the George Orwell Festival with a wonderful panel to discuss ‘Poverty Then and Now: Orwell and his Successors’.”

Admission will be by ticket only. These cost £5.00 and are available from David’s Bookshop, 14 Eastcheap, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3DE , The Tourist Information Centre, Station Road, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3BB; or online at

George Orwell, who died in 1950, is best known for his best-selling novels ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ and ‘Animal Farm’. He was also a pioneering political journalist and cultural critic, and worked for the BBC during the Second World War producing talks and drama for the overseas radio service.

Further information and contacts:

Richard Hallmark – Committee Chair

James Hayes – PR co-ordinator
Tel: 0777 3705894

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