Murakami tells a great story in Orwellian ‘IQ84’

“During the past few weeks, I’ve spent somewhere between 50 and 70 hours lost in the world of 1Q84, the much-anticipated Haruki Murakami novel paying homage to George Orwells Nineteen Eighty-Four…
Sorry, but I can’t be more precise.”

- Mike Fischer, writing in the Journal Sentinel online. Read on at

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After Orwell – poetry id poems from the 2011 Festival online

Poems from After Orwell, the event and the book of poems by poetry id, are now available in the book of that name and a selection of poems from the collection will be made available online here - the poems presented will change from time to time so keep the page bookmarked.

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View John Bird’s Festival opening address online

Big Issue Films is presenting highlights of its founder John Bird’s address at the opening of the George Orwell Festival on 9 September. Don’t miss this opportunity to catch John’s frank and sometimes controversial account of how Orwell’s work informed his view of life, politics and social oppression.

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‘The enduring myth of George Orwell’

Review on of John Rodden’s new book The Unexamined Orwell which examines the legendary status the Nineteen Eighty-Four author has achieved since his death…

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Hitchens makes ‘an Orwell pilgrimage’…

Daily Mail journalist and commentator Peter Hitchens – star panellist of the George Orwell Festival Debate ‘What would Orwell write about today?’ that took place in Letchworth in front of a capacity audience last Friday evening – has blogged about  his impressions of the event, and recalls some of the key themes that emerged in this lively and sometimes contentious discussion. He is pictured below (far left) with fellow panellists Corinna Ferguson (barrister and legal officer at Liberty), chair Rabinder Singh (liberties lawyer), Vitali Vitaliev (author and broadcaster), and Gordon Bowker (Orwell biographer).





Photo courtesy of Paul Louis Archer photography.

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‘Last Man in Europe’ brings triumphal Festival week to moving close

Michael McEvoy’s one-man play about George Orwell ‘The Last Man in Europe’, presented in St Mary church, Wallington (where Orwell himself was married) was a moving conclusion to the 2011 Festival. Our gratitude and best wishes to everyone who attended the two performances as audience or helpers, and who contributed to the success of the event. Thanks also to the Wallington community for its support both yesterday and throughout the Festival.








Photo courtesy of Simon Maddison. A set of Simon’s photos showing six other events from the Festival can be seen at:

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‘Orwell was one of my biggest inspirations’ reveals John Bird at Festival opening

The George Orwell Festival 2011 was launched yesterday evening with sound and fury by John Bird MBE, respected editor and founder of the international street newspaper The Big Issue. In his opening keynote address at David’s Bookshop, Letchworth, Bird spoke passionately of how big an influence Orwell’s writings – especially his investigative reportage in Down and Out in Paris and London – had been in developing his realisation that societal problems should never be taken at face value, and of how spirals into poverty can be averted by simple common-sense actions.  Following his speech John fielded questions during a lively Q&A with the audience. Our thanks and appreciation to him for getting the Festival off to such a great start.






Photo courtesy of Paul Louis Archer Photography

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‘George Orwell was not our Big Brother but our uncle’

Orwell’s surviving nephew and nieces remember their ‘Uncle Eric’ in this Times & Star article

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Recalling Eric Blair’s beer mug…

Broadcast on the Saturday Live programme on BBC Radio 4, 27 August 2011:
Listen now (60 minutes in which this is quite a long item, with Irene Stacey speaking)

The Thing About Me :: Orwell jug
‘Irene Stacey, former landlady of the Plough pub in Wallington, still has the beer jug from which George Orwell used to drink his beer…’

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‘Smart’ CCTV could track rioters, predicts Orwell

CCTV that can automatically monitor criminal behaviour and track suspects is being developed by researchers at Kingston University, who have created a system that uses artificial intelligence to recognise specific types of behaviour, such as someone holding a gun, reports BBC News. “We’re seeking to use surveillance to help control society, while avoiding the ‘Big Brother’ nightmare of everybody being seen all the time,” says the aptly-named Dr James Orwell of Kingston’s Digital Imaging Research Centre (DIRC).

Festival event: Big Brother Goes Digital – The Future CCTV Surveillance

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