The Orwell Prize, based at University College London, is a British prize for political writing of outstanding quality. Two prizes are awarded each year: one for a book and one for journalism; between 2009 and 2012, a third prize was awarded for blogging. In each case, the winner is the short-listed entry which comes closest to George Orwell’s own ambition to “make political writing into an art”.
In 2014, the Youth Orwell Prize was launched, targeted at school years 9 to 13 in order to “support and inspire a new generation of politically engaged young writers” . In 2015, The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils, sponsored and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, was launched.
Bernard Crick founded the prize in 1993, using money from the royalties of the hardback edition of his biography of Orwell. Its sponsors are Orwell’s adopted son Richard Blair, The Political Quarterly, and A. M. Heath & Company. The Prize was formerly sponsored by the Media Standards Trust. Crick remained Chair of the judges until 2006; since 2007, the media historian Professor Jean Seaton has been the Director of the prize.