The Orwell Foundation aims to offer a platform for debate and discussion designed to appeal to the widest possible public audience, connecting with everyone to whom George Orwell and his writings are a source of inspiration.
Through our monthly book reviews, we want to provide an opportunity for students and early-career academics to discuss new non-fiction publications which contribute to our understanding of Orwell’s life and work, and the Foundation’s own activities. We are especially interested in books which:
- Contribute to the public understanding of Orwell’s life and work, including the broader historical, literary, and cultural context in which he was writing.
- Consider Orwell’s broader reception, and the relevance of his ideas to contemporary culture.
- Engage critically with the condition of writing and reporting today.
If you are a student or early-career researcher and would like to write a book review for our blog, please send your pitch for a book review to the Prize and Programme Coordinator, Jordan Dilworth, at email@example.com. Please do not send us a completed book review before you have pitched to us and we have commissioned you to write a review.
Your pitch should tell us which book you would like to review, how this book addresses the criteria outlined above, and a brief overview of your previous writing experience. We pay £50 per published book review.
The following guidelines are designed to assist reviewers when writing their reviews for The Orwell Foundation’s blog.
Writing for ‘As I Please’
'As I Please' takes its name from the column which Orwell wrote for the magazine Tribune during the Second World War. Orwell ranged freely from observations of life in wartime London to reflections on the urgent moral and political themes which drove his great novels.
The frank style, variety of subject matter and sharp insight Orwell demonstrated in his columns still inspires writers and journalists today, and is the inspiration behind our blog. Your review should be written with a wide audience in mind, including members of the public, academics, journalists, writers, editors, and publicists.
The best book reviews can be excellent for very different reasons. Some are excellent for their sharp humour and for a memorable turn of phrase, while others are descriptive and concisely summarise a complex topic. When in doubt, we recommend that you read Orwell’s essay, Politics and the English Language. You should use your individual strengths to write creatively, passionately, and clearly about your chosen book. And while these tips are meant to guide your review, remember Orwell’s sixth rule for writing: ‘Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
The Orwell Foundation is politically independent. The legacy of Orwell is claimed and contested by those across the political spectrum, and we therefore aim to create a space that allows for a diversity of opinion and respectful debate.
Please note the following for our house style:
● Please cite using the Harvard referencing system. You can access a quick guide to the Harvard referencing system here. Please provide page numbers whilst citing.
● We use single rather than double quotation marks.
● The name of the book should be italicised. For example, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.
● Use UK spelling throughout your review. For example, ‘centre’ rather than ‘center’, and ‘industrialisation’ instead of ‘industrialization’.
● We write out full numbers between and including one and ten; please use digits for any number above ten.
● When using acronyms, include the full name and abbreviation on the first mention, and then the acronym for subsequent uses.
Length and Format
We ask for reviews to be between 800 - 1,000 words in length. We can be flexible with the deadline and support you when necessary.
Editing Process and Publication
Your review will be reviewed by the Prize and Programme Coordinator, who will undertake a copy-edit and proofread the piece to enhance its clarity, minimise spelling and grammatical mistakes, ensure accurate citing, and check for factual accuracy. You will then receive feedback and be given the opportunity to respond to comments and to make further edits before a final version is agreed.
Minor edits, usually consisting of typological errors or citations, are made in the majority of reviews. However, you might be asked to develop and refine your argument further, to check factual claims, provide additional supporting evidence for certain claims, and rewrite sections for the purpose of clarity. Once the review is published on our blog, you will be notified and a link to the review will be sent to you.