Books Jacket Copy

George Orwell's legacy: Orwell Prize longlist announced

The longlist for the Orwell Prize, Britain's prestigious award for political writing, was announced Wednesday. Fourteen journalists and 12 books are in the running for investigations on subjects including Starbucks,  torture, death row and the lives of the super-rich. 

The prize is awarded in two categories -- books and journalism -- for works that reflect George Orwell's ambition to "make political writing into an art."  This means, as was established by prize founder Sir Bernard Crick in 1994, that equal value is given to style and content.  As book prize judge Arifa Akbar wrote in the Independent of this year's process: "I came across those campaigning books intent on exposing a lie or revealing a truth, and also those 'writerly' ones that could shape a sentence beautifully.  The challenge was to find these two qualities in the same book."

This year's book prize finalists include Richard Holloway's memoir of doubt and faith, "Leaving Alexandria"; A.T. Williams' forensic study of Baha Mousa's death while under arrest in Iraq, "A Very British Killing"; and Ben Goldacre's "Bad Pharma," a shocking expose of the pharmaceutical industry.  Also shortlisted is Pankaj Mishra's "From the Ruins of Empire," a portrait of thinkers who have shaped China, India, and the Muslim world.  The complete longlist of books is below.

The journalism prize longlist was selected from a record-breaking 155 entries, and includes Ian Cobain of the Guardian, John Arlidge for reporting in the Sunday Times, and Christina Patterson of the Independent.  In all, 12 publications are represented.  "Anybody reading newspapers this last year would think that British journalism was in a parlous state," Director of the Prize Jean Seaton said in the release, "but the entries for the Orwell Prize tell a different story.  The entries were a stunning display of professional investigative brilliance."

The shortlist will be announced on April 17, following which the Orwell Prize will host a debate on Burma and the question, "When censorship declines, does freedom emerge?" in keeping with its mission to encourage political argument around the world. Orwell Prize winners will be announced on May 15 at an awards ceremony in London.

The longlisted books:

"Burying the Typewriter" by Carmen Bugan
"On the Front Line" by Marie Colvin
"Plutocrats" by Chrystia Freeland
"Bad Pharma" by Ben Goldacre
"El Narco" by Ioan Grillo
"Leaving Alexandria" by Richard Holloway
"From the Ruins of the Empire" Pankaj Mishra
"The Spanish Holocaust" by Paul Preston
"Occupation Diaries" by Raja Shehadeh
"Injustice" by Clive Stafford Smith
"Bloody Nasty People" by Daniel Trilling
"A Very British Killing" by A. T. Williams


Ruth Lily Poetry Prize, for $100,000, to go to Marie Ponsot

Is Barack Obama a Marxist? A reading list for Pat Boone

On Iraq War anniversary, Condoleezza Rice announces a book 

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • The winner of the Obama presidential library: Chicago or Hawaii?
    The winner of the Obama presidential library: Chicago or Hawaii?

    Future historians of the Barack Obama presidency, where would you rather travel? To that perpetually sunny corner of Polynesia where our 44th president was born? Or to the windy city on Lake Michigan he most recently called home?

  • The discreet charm of Noon
    The discreet charm of Noon

    The new issue of Noon landed last week, and as usual, it’s a compendium of unlikely pleasures: short prose and illustrations that challenge us to think about meaning and narrative. The brainchild of fiction writer Diane Williams, who edits it, Noon has been around since 2000, publishing a...

  • Who thinks Emma Watson would do the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' film?
    Who thinks Emma Watson would do the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' film?

    Emma Watson is the actress who played the darling Hermione Granger in the "Harry Potter" movies. She has been going to college at an Ivy -- Brown University -- when she hasn't been making movies. When she took a year abroad, she went to no less than Oxford. "As you know, I love Brown and I love...

  • 'The Age of Earthquakes' looks back instead of forward
    'The Age of Earthquakes' looks back instead of forward

    I’m of two minds about “The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present” (Blue Rider: unpaged, $15 paper). On the one hand, this collaboration between writers Douglas Coupland and Shumon Basar and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist aspires to be a hip,...

  • Paula Deen signs book deal with Hachette
    Paula Deen signs book deal with Hachette

    Paula Deen, the disgraced celebrity chef whose Southern food empire crumbled after she admitted in 2013 to using racial slurs in the past, is attempting a comeback. Hachette Book Group on Monday announced a sales and distribution deal with the former television star's Paula Deen Ventures.

  • Veronica Roth, author of 'Divergent,' to launch new book series
    Veronica Roth, author of 'Divergent,' to launch new book series

    Veronica Roth, author of the wildly popular "Divergent" series, is starting on a new line of books. The as-yet untitled project is planned as a duology for young adults. It is to be published by Harper Collins.

  • Writer Nathan Englander's avenging pen
    Writer Nathan Englander's avenging pen

    Nathan Englander was in college when he first heard the story of Stalin's 1952 purge of Russia's top Yiddish writers. Determined that their story not die with them, he fictionalized their plight in "The Twenty-Seventh Man," the short story that led his 1999 award-winning debut collection,...

  • In Ishiguro's 'The Buried Giant,' memory draws a blank
    In Ishiguro's 'The Buried Giant,' memory draws a blank

    Kazuo Ishiguro has made a career of the unexpected. His best-known novel, 1989's Man Booker-winning "The Remains of the Day," is narrated by an English butler looking back on the love he let elude him on a country estate in the years leading to World War II. "When We Were Orphans" (2000)...