Dorian Lynskey’s “biography” of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four, entered the Orwell Prize List for Political Writing.
Established by the Orwell Foundation, the £ 3,000 prize is intended to reward those books that best meet Orwell’s ambition “to turn political writing into an art”. Lynskey’s Ministry of Truth, which traces the origins of Nineteen eighty-four years when Orwell spent fighting on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, clashes with 11 other titles. These include the exposure of Guardian journalist Amelia Gentleman The Windrush Betrayal, Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women, on the gender data gap, and the memory of poet Kate Clanchy as a teacher, Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me.
“None of us are thinking about life in the same way we were a few weeks ago. Politics also looks very different, “admitted Bloomberg Economics chief and jury president Stephanie Flanders.
“But the books on this year’s long list are not about ordinary politics. In fact, most are not about traditional politics at all. They are, however, politicians in the most important sense: they shed new light on something that matters and perhaps they inspire you to consider how things could be better. “
Julia Lovell’s Maoism also competes for the prize: a global story, Robert Macfarlane’s journey to the world under our feet, Underland and Azadeh Moaveni’s investigation into the women of the Islamic State, Guest House for Young Widows.
Flanders added that all 12 books were also “a satisfying and satisfying read … We definitely need it more than ever”.
The long list for the £ 3,000 Orwell prize for political fiction was also announced on Wednesday, ranging from Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks to Newburyport, a stream of consciousness from a middle-aged woman in Ohio, to Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo and Attica Locke’s Heaven, My Home, Booker winner, in which a black Texas Ranger investigates the disappearance of the son of a white supremacist. Nine of the 13 selected titles are written by women.
The jury president for the fiction prize, Jude Kelly, said that the lineup “pays homage to the writer’s voice’s ability to absorb political power structures and return them to us in personal identity stories, community tensions, such as The long tail of history affects the present and the emerging strength of women in defining what “political” means. “
The slates will be announced in mid-May, with the winners being unveiled on June 25, Orwell’s birthday.
Orwell Award for the 2020 political writing longlist
Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill and Tim Bouverie’s The Road to War (Bodley Head)
Some guys I taught and what they taught me about Kate Clanchy (Picador)
Invisible women: exposing data distortion in a world designed for men by Caroline Criado Perez (Chatto & Windus)
The Windrush Betrayal: Exposing the Hostile Environment by Amelia Gentleman (Guardian Faber)
Follow Me, Akhi: the online world of British Muslims by Hussein Kesvani (Hurst)
Maoism: a global story by Julia Lovell (Bodley Head)
The Ministry of Truth: a 1984 biography of George Orwell by Dorian Lynskey (Picador)
Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane (Hamish Hamilton)
Guest House for Young Widows: Among the Women of Isis by Azadeh Moaveni (Scribe)
Margaret Thatcher – Herself Alone: The Authorized Biography Vol Three by Charles Moore (Allen Lane)
Winter Kremlin: Russia and the second coming of Vladimir Putin of Robert Service (Picador)
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff (Profile)
Orwell Award for the long list of political fiction 2020
This Paradise by Ruby Cowling (Boiler House Press)
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann (Galley Beggar Press)
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Hamish Hamilton)
The Wall by John Lanchester (Faber & Faber)
The Topeka School by Ben Lerner (Granta)
The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy (Hamish Hamilton)
Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke (Serpent’s Tail)
In Calais, in James Meek’s Ordinary Time (Canongate)
Girl by Edna O’Brien (Faber & Faber)
Travelers of Regina Porter (Jonathan Cape)
Broken Jaw by Minoli Salgado (The 87 Press)
Spring by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)
Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys (Fleet)