A number of different sets of diaries make up this blog, which covers all of Orwell’s diary entries between 9th August 1938 and 15th November 1942. In the Orwell Archive, they are split into the general categories of ‘Domestic’ and ‘Political’, with the latter category subdivided into ‘Morocco’, ‘Leading Up to War’, and ‘War-time’. The entries on the blog are tagged accordingly.

The Domestic Diaries, in the archive and published editions of the Diaries, are also split into Volume I (9 August 1938 – 26 May 1939) and Volume II (27 May 1939 – 29 April 1940). The War-time Diaries are also divided into two volumes: the First War-time Diary covers 28 May 1940 to 28 August 1941, and the Second War-time Diary runs from 14 March 1942 to 15 November 1942.

Peter Davison has written helpful introductions to the different sets of diaries (and kindly allowed us to reproduce them):

In addition, Orwell biographer Gordon Bowker has allowed us to publish ‘The Road to Morocco’, a chapter of his biography of Orwell, which you can read on the Orwell Prize website.


The diaries are exactly as Orwell wrote them. Where there are original spelling errors, they are indicated by a ° following the offending word.

We are extremely grateful to Peter Davison, whose footnotes (from the Complete Works) are used with his permission. Where the Orwell Prize has attached additional footnotes, they are clearly indicated.

The Prize has also added links to external websites (for whose content we accept no responsibility), links to a Google Map charting Orwell’s progress, and links to original material from the Orwell Archive.

Penguin Books (paperback) and Harvill Secker (hardback) have published editions of the diaries since we started the blog.


You can subscribe to the diaries via our RSS feed; our twitter account, which has lots of updates on the Orwell Prize and links to works by and about Orwell, as well as the diaries; and the weekly Orwell Prize newsletter, which contains a summary of the previous week’s entries, a list of dates for the following week’s entries, and further information about the Orwell Diaries and the Orwell Prize.

The Blogroll contains links to media coverage around the launch of the Orwell Diaries, and links to the Orwell Prize website and the sites of its sponsors.

As well as this diary blog, we have post-blogged Orwell’s 1936 diary which formed the basis of The Road to Wigan Pier.

This blog was nominated for the Webby Awards 2009 in the Best Culture/Personal Blog category.

Rights and thanks

The material published on this blog remains under copyright and is reproduced by kind permission of the Orwell Estate (at A. M. Heath) and Penguin Books. We are very grateful to Bill Hamilton and A. M. Heath, who hold the rights to Orwell’s literary estate for their permission, and also to Penguin and Harvill Secker, who publish Orwell, for their support.

For the Diary of Events Leading Up to the War, we are heavily indebted to the staff of the British Newspaper Library at Colindale for their help. Many thanks to Telegraph Media Group, Guardian News and Media, Solo Syndication (for Associated Newspapers) and News International Syndication for giving us permission to reproduce the articles online.

Thank you to Peter Davison, Gordon Bowker and D. J. Taylor for their advice, expertise and permission to use their work, and to Richard Blair (Orwell’s son) for his support.

Finally, thanks to our interns for the transcriptions and other diary-related tasks: Tara Austin, Tom Evans, Charlotte Hawkins, Mark Jervis, Natasha Lewis, David Lyons, Lucy Snow, and Joseph Willits.

For further information, please contact Gavin Freeguard, deputy director of the Orwell Prize and editor of the project.

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