May 16, 2011, Letchworth, Hertfordshire, UK. Letchworth will host the first George Orwell Festival, taking place from September 9-18 2011. The Festival will be a community-based multi-streamed week of events celebrating the life and work of this respected and influential author.
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.
The event is being organised by a team of volunteers from around Hertfordshire, including representatives from the village of Wallington,near Baldock, where Orwell leased a cottage between 1936 and 1947. The George Orwell Festival will showcase staged adaptations of Orwell’s stories, themed debates, art exhibitions, comedy nights, and book fairs. Well-known speakers from the fields of literature, media, and culture, will be featured.
“We want this will be an accessible, inclusive series of events, and aim to involve people of all ages and interests,” said Festival committee chair, Richard Hallmark. “We encourage visitors to contribute to the debates on wider-ranging topics, but the festival will be a community-inspired event as well.”
Hallmark added: “Orwell had many passions outside of literature and politics – from country living and the natural world, to goat keeping, English cooking, real ale, and seaside postcards – all of which he wrote about. We want the Festival to reflect the full range of his interests.”
The Festival has links established with The Orwell Prize, and the Orwell Memorial Trust, and will be announcing its own programme of events as they are confirmed over the coming weeks. It has already attracted interest from international visitors, and groups and societies in and around Letchworth.
Lee Boswell Manager of the Letchworth Town Centre Partnership forum for traders and businesses, said: “This is really exciting, and it will present a whole raft of opportunities to traders in the town with all the visitors we can expect. The business community should warmly welcome and support this new initiative.”
Further information and contacts:
Richard Hallmark – Committee Chair
James Hayes – Committee member