The Orwell Prize is Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing. Every year since 1994, it has rewarded the book and to the journalism which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. A Blog Prize was awarded for the first time in 2009, launched following the success of this blog.

Since 9th August 2008, we have been blogging George Orwell’s diaries from 1938 in real time, 70 years to the day since each entry was originally written. The diaries start as Orwell heads to Morocco (with his wife Eileen) to recuperate from injury and illness, and end in 1942 (or 2012) as the Second World War rages. We have since post-blogged Orwell’s diary from his journey to Wigan Pier, and his hop-picking diary from 1931.

In addition to the diary entries, there are images and documents complementing the diaries available here, and a Google Map of Orwell’s travels here. For more on Orwell, visit the George Orwell section of the main Orwell Prize website for works by and about Orwell.

For further information, please contact the deputy director of the Orwell Prize, Gavin Freeguard. You can also follow us on Twitter. Our original introduction to the project is below.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

‘When one reads any strongly individual piece of writing, one has the impression of seeing a face somewhere behind the page’, wrote George Orwell, in his 1939 essay on Charles Dickens.

Since 9th August 2008, The Orwell Prize has been blogging George Orwell’s diaries, allowing you to gather your own impression of Orwell’s face – behind the screen, rather than the page. Each diary entry is published on the blog exactly seventy years after it was originally written by Orwell, beginning in 1938 and allowing you to follow Orwell’s recuperation in Morocco, his return to the UK, and his opinions on the descent of Europe into war in real time. The diaries end in 1942, three years into the conflict.

What impression of Orwell will emerge? From his domestic diaries (which started on 9th August 2008), it may be a largely unknown Orwell, whose great curiosity is focused on plants, animals, woodwork, and – above all – how many eggs have been laid. From his political diaries (from 7th September 2008), it may be the Orwell whose political observations and critical thinking have enthralled and inspired generations since his death in 1950. Whether writing about the Spanish Civil War or sloe gin, geraniums or Germany, Orwell’s perceptive eye and rebellion against the ‘gramophone mind’ he so despised are obvious.

Orwell wrote of what he saw in Dickens: ‘He is laughing, with a touch of anger in his laughter, but no triumph, no malignity. It is the face of a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is generously angry — in other words, of a nineteenth-century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.’

What will you see in the Orwell diaries?

78 Responses to About

  1. Hamilton Maia says:

    I do not know what is REPLY. I supose thwt wqnt may opinion abaout George Orwell and the blogs in the future series. I do think it is very interesting, and waiting with too much curiosity.

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  3. Wonderful, wonderful idea. I’ve provided a bit of free publicity for you:


    I truly look forward to reading this 70 year-old blog.

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  5. kotare says:

    This is an excellent idea, and best wishes with your endeavour.

  6. Perpetual Memory Loss says:

    So sweet

  7. Matt says:

    awesome job, guys.

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  9. Jeff says:

    Looking forward to reading the entries. Great idea.

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  11. AlexFate says:

    An inspirational idea – I look forward to each days ‘blog’

  12. citizenwells says:

    I quote Mr. Orwell almost daily.
    Sadly, in many ways, we have surpassed the madness of 1984.
    Citizen Wells

  13. Scott Rippon says:

    Thanks so much for putting this body of work online :)

    Just one small request, in the RSS feed can you please post the entire article not just the start of the post? It’s a little annoying not being able to read the whole post and to be forced to visit a separate page. Thanks.

  14. Pingback: While you were out … » The Commentariat | SpecBlogs.com

  15. Alan Evil says:

    George Orwell starts to blog, then forgets about it for three days. Perhaps he’s on MySpace?

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  20. Pingback: Die Orwell Diaries haben begonnen | DER MISANTHROP

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  22. S.D. Price says:

    Is there a way to register so the diary entries will be automatically sent on a daily basis?

    Thank you,
    S.D. Price

  23. Kirillov says:

    How about having them available as an email as well? This would be a nice thing to find in the inbox a few times a week.

    Great idea to publish them though. Thanks!

  24. Jonathan says:

    I agree with the daily email suggestions. In addition to “pushing” the content to interested subscribers, this would also increase awareness of the blog through the viral nature of email, as subscribers forward it to friends.

    Thank you for your efforts.

  25. letit says:

    Great idea to let people know his notes… it’s important to us to have more information about Orwell. I deeply believe he was a visionary of actual society. It’s difficult to see it but is like that! We’re living in a 1984’s world.

  26. John says:

    Absolutely fantastic idea.

    I wonder why people ask for an e-mail update when there is a RSS/Atom feed available? If you got a desktop client you can use those for feeds too.

  27. Claudia says:

    Im a teacher and I often tell my students that many times technology shortens the distance between men and time, making the difference with “other”uses of technology (war, destruction, virus, etc.). This is one of theses times. A great, great idea. Congratulations Joan

  28. Pingback: Un blog con los diarios de George Orwell, 70 años después | El Taller Literario - Blog para escritores

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  30. John Mavridis says:

    In a time of tumult, the daily views of a genius who has withstood the test of time will provide a constancy that today<s generation can certainly use. Whether we get it or not, is another matter.

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  33. I’m enjoying this blog very much and have rooted out my copy of “1984” to read it again. I wrote about the Orwell blog for my book club blog, http://www.blatherblog.wordpress.com and also on my own blog, so that more people will learn about it and enjoy it.

  34. Marianela says:


    I`m from Argentina y have read ‘Rebelión en la granaja’ and ‘1984’ and they are very interesting books. Every student must read them because they have not losed the critics of real and now life… do you understand to me? je! and now we have the oportunity to know this writer deeply. Thanks for this idea.

  35. kim scott says:

    I love this so much–it’s the perfect melding of old and new and such a treat for writers–thank you!

  36. Pingback: Dave’s Whiteboard » Blog Archive » New blogger: George Orwell

  37. Christian says:

    “Orwell Diaries” it’s excelent!

  38. Moira says:

    Grande ideia. Parabéns.
    Gostei mto de ler Orwell e ainda o releio.
    É uma boa surpresa “encontrá-lo” hoje. Vamos ver se o reconheço.

  39. jennabo says:

    what a gift to us all! thank you george orwell and thank you to the orwell prize for publishing these “blogs”. it is great to connect to the past through the present and to learn so much from such a gifted man. i am so grateful for this site!

  40. Andrew says:

    Knowing what’s coming, September 1938, I get chills. This is going to be very interesting..

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  42. Nicole says:

    I will add my gratitude to all previous entries (Jennabo et al) in being able to read Orwell’s journals. It is a privilege, and thank you to all those that made this happen.

  43. Marianela says:

    i really think we are living in ‘1984’m at least we are living like this in Argentina, jaja!

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  45. Mélanie says:

    Great, excellent idea… Congratulations!!! We’ve had Albert Camus, but Orwell still rules!!! Bonne continuation…

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  47. MissMilly says:

    This is pretty incredible, I happened upon this site/blog via http://io9.com which featured an article about this place. It is so awesome to read what George Orwell was doing these days in 1938.

    Thank you for putting this out there for us.

    A genius moment when you thought and created this site. I am a HUGE fan. :)

    Many thanks.

  48. blackormore says:

    A beautiful invention.

    ‘And that picture over there’ — she nodded at the engraving on the opposite wall — ‘would that be a hundred years old?’
    ‘More. Two hundred, I dare say. One can’t tell. It’s impossible to discover the age of anything nowadays.’
    She went over to look at it. ‘Here’s where that brute stuck his nose out,’ she said, kicking the wainscoting immediately below the picture.

    –George Orwell

  49. Winston says:

    Please continue this valuable project and ignore the moronic comments the posts appear to generate.

  50. Thomas says:

    This is amazing! Thanks for preserving a little piece of history!

  51. Omer Jalal says:

    I love this man so much, his writings fill me with great joy; is it of his faithfullness? When I read him there is that charm of narrating, of poet, of something i donot know what to name, that I never felt for any other written English that I read.

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  53. Dione Moura says:

    Uma iniciativa brilhante. Muito bom podermos compartilhar dos diários de George Orwell.

  54. Kate T. says:

    Sorry to leave a comment, but I didn’t see any other way to contact the people managing this site. I’m working on a book about the use of Web 2.0 tools, such as blogs, by archives and other historical organizations. I’d like to talk with someone involved with the creation of this blog about your experiences with it. Can someone please contact me?

    Thank you!

  55. I love your site. Keep it up !

  56. Pingback: If Orwell Blogged « And We All Fall Down

  57. Martin Leonard says:

    Could someone please explain why I am only able to find the domestic diaries and not the political diaries, as I read was supposed to start in September 2008? Perhaps I am not looking in the right place?

  58. angkasuwan says:

    thanks for the history and keeping this going

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  60. Orwell is as significant as ever but still sometimes misunderstood. My blog replies to one example of this: http://www.bretthetherington.net/Modules/Blog/Pages/BlogEntry.aspx?BlogEntryId=351

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  63. Extraordinary and moving – even global events witnessed by the greatest minds happen against a landscape of mundanity. Much of Orwell’s short life was spent in limbo necessitated by ill health and ill fortune. That he achieved all he did in 46 short years is amazing.

  64. Pingback: The Orwell Diaries: Insights into a Human Legend « Stephen Oliver's Blog

  65. Nicole Whiteley says:


    This is a great idea! Perfect way to expose those who may have not been exposed to the writing and also allow those who already love his work to have constant access.

    I have a client that I believe your readers would be interested in and benefit from. Email me if you would like to speak further!

    Keep up the good work!


  66. Thank you so much for bringing such a great visionary back into the mainstream. It is my opinion that Orwell was the last of the great classical writers and we’re long overdue for a writer of that caliber. There are some great writing and art schools out there to help a young writer hone in his skills. Hopefully we can see someone new in the writing scene very soon. Thanks again.

  67. Pingback: My Book Reviews » George Orwell’s Diaries – in real time!

  68. Mike says:

    Is there also a prize like the Orwell prize for the Netherlands?

  69. JackG says:

    It would be great if, as each diary entry is posted, the date of the NEXT entry would also be given. The huge gaps between some entries drives me mad! I keep coming back hoping to see the next one, only to be disappointed most of the time. Since this site doesn’t have advertising, my suggestion wouldn’t result in a loss of revenue.

    This is my only complaint about this wonderful project.


  70. misternizz says:

    Has this effort ceased? I haven’t noticed an update since August.

  71. @misternizz: don’t worry, the project hasn’t finished! There aren’t any further entries until 14 March 2012/1942, when we’ll start posting again

  72. Interested Reader says:

    The people running the site made it quite clear that there was a hiatus in entries until March. I’m sure we all eagerly await the resumption.

  73. Kate Toner says:

    I was so faithful in my reading until recently and find I have fallen behind. With that said, this is a very worhty endeavour, for which I am very grateful! Great job!!!

  74. Pingback: Orwell, On Belief as Political Whim « The Greenery

  75. Pingback: “Utter Non-Interest in the Facts”—Orwell On Truth vs. Ideology | ZoomFluX

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