It's being announced this morning that I am to chair this year's Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils. The prize is worth £3,000 to the winner and is sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The prize is free to enter and independent of any editorial agenda. Entries are now open until midnight 13th January for journalism published in the calendar year 2019.

The Social Evils Prize is for reporting which has enhanced the public understanding of social issues and/or public policy; Journalism Prize rewards the sustained commentary and/or reportage which strives to meet George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’.

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 live up to the values of the Orwell Foundation. The Orwell Prizes are awarded by the Orwell Foundation, an independent charity.

The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils, now in its sixth year, is awarded to reporting which has enhanced the public understanding of social issues and/or public policy. In 2019 the winner was Max Daly (Global Drugs Editor, VICE) for his reporting on the ‘County Lines’ phenomenon, described as ‘a street-level investigation into the causes and nature of rising youth drug selling and violence’.

Sponsored and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Prize is named in recognition of the task Joseph Rowntree gave his organisation to ‘search out the underlying causes of weakness or evil’ that lay behind Britain’s social problems. The Prize encourages entries which report across a variety of media, including online, broadcast and print media.   

Orwell prize

This year’s judges are:

  • Iain Dale, Broadcaster and Political Commentator (Chair)
  • Rosie Campbell, Professor of Politics and Director of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, King’s College London
  • Max Daly, Global Drugs Editor, VICE and winner of the Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils 2019
  • Abigail Scott Paul, Deputy Director of Advocacy and Public Engagement, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Farrah Storr, Editor-in-Chief, ELLE

George Orwell was a fearless and stubborn exposer of social evils - always independent, he knew how to tell a story which changed minds. My fellow judges and I are looking forward to uncovering the investigative reporting that continues in his vein, we are seeking the best of social reporting in any media from across the UK.

Previous winners of the Prize include Sarah O’Connor and a team from the Financial Times for an exposé of the state of Britain’s coastal towns, and the author and journalist Nicci Gerrard.

Entry is made online. Entry forms and prize rules, including full eligibility criteria, can be found HERE.

Longlists (12 nominees) will be announced in late March/early April 2020, followed by shortlists (6 nominees) in May 2020. The winners of both prizes will be announced at the end of June 2020, alongside the winners of The Orwell Prize for Political Writing and The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.