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'...Make political writing into an art.' | 2022 Orwell Prizes for Journalism

In this week's guest blog, Jordan Dilworth, Prize and Programme Coordinator at The Orwell Foundation shares the story of how one of the biggest prizes in journalism came to be, and details of how to enter the 2022 Orwell Prizes.


Calling all journalists and editors! Entries are open for The Orwell Prize for Journalism 2022 and The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain's Social Evils 2022, for reporting published between 1st January 2021 – 28th February 2022.



The Orwell Prizes aim to encourage good writing and thinking about politics. The winning entries should strive to meet Orwell’s own ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. They should be of equal excellence in style and content, and the writing must be both political and artful.


We want to receive entries from a broad range of journalists, and we encourage you to enter this year's prizes. We would also appreciate you helping to spread the word about entering the prize. If you have a friend or colleague who you think should enter, please forward this call for entries to them. The Orwell Prizes are free to enter, free of editorial agenda, open to any eligible journalist, and worth £3,000 to the winner. Before we give you more information on how to enter, we’d like to tell you a bit more about each prize.


The Orwell Prize for Journalism is awarded to a journalist for sustained reportage and/or commentary working in any medium. A submission should consist of a minimum of three and a maximum of four articles in any combination of media. This might consist of, for example, three printed articles, three television or radio broadcasts or a combination of different media. Last year’s winner was John Harris and John Domokos for entries from their video series Anywhere But Westminster. Previous winners include Janice Turner, Steve Bloomfield, Suzanne Moore, Carole Cadwalladr, Fintan O’Toole, Gideon Rachman, and Iona Craig.


Since 2014, The Orwell Prize and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have worked together on The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils, a social issues journalism prize. Named in recognition of the task Joseph Rowntree gave his organization ‘to search out the underlying causes of weakness or evil’ that lay behind Britain’s social problems, the prize supports and encourages original, insightful and impactful reporting on social issues in the UK. Last year’s winner was Annabel Deas for her podcast series Hope High, which documented the year she spent with a community in Huddersfield where a number of children were being exploited by county lines drug dealers. Previous winners include Ian Birrell, Max Daly, Sarah O’Connor, Felicity Lawrence, Nicci Gerrard, and Alison Holt.


Each year, the Orwell Foundation appoints a new panel of independent judges to award each prize. The Orwell Prize for Journalism 2022 panel is chaired by Isabel Hilton, journalist and founder of China Dialogue, who is joined by Helen Hawkins, ex-culture editor at The Times, Marcus Ryder, Head of External Consultancies at the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity and chair of RADA, and Sameer Padania, author and independent journalism consultant. We plan to announce the judging panel for The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain's Social Evils 2022 shortly.


Finally, this year's prize cycle will culminate in The Orwell Festival of Political Writing in July, held in Bloomsbury and in association with University College London, and feature finalists from across the prizes, as well as other important voices in contemporary political writing and thinking. The Festival will close with the announcement of the Orwell Prize Winners 2022. Full details of the Festival will be announced in early 2022.


Journalists, editors, and award administrators are invited to submit entries via the online forms by 3rd March 2022, and the full rules for both prizes are available here.


If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Jordan Dilworth at jordan.dilworth@orwellfoundation.com.