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openDemocracy writer longlisted for Orwell Prize

Clare Sambrook, one of OurKingdom’s co-editors, is among 14 nominees for the UK’s leading prize for political journalism.

ourKingdom editors
8 April 2013

Image: George Orwell Archive Gallery

The Orwell Prize, which honours work that embodies George Orwell’s ambition “to make political writing into an art”, has longlisted OurKingdom’s Clare Sambrook for its Journalism Prize.

Among the 14 writers on the longlist, Andrew Norfolk of The Times reported on the appalling Rotherham sexual abuse scandal and The Guardian’s Ian Cobain exposed Britain’s complicity in secret renditions.

The Evening Standard’s David Cohen is nominated for his work on the blight of youth unemployment in London, and the Independent’s Christina Patterson for her harrowing first-hand reports on the crisis in UK nursing.

James Meek, in the London Review of Books, illuminated privatisation or, as he put it, “packaging British citizens up and selling them, sector by sector, to investors”.

Sambrook’s investigative dossier, The UK Border Agency's long, punitive campaign against children (helped by G4S and Serco), led her submission — collated here under ‘Related Articles’.

“Anybody reading newspapers this last year would think that British journalism was in a parlous state,” said Prize director Jean Seaton, “but the entries for the Orwell Prize tell a different story. The entries were a stunning display of professional investigative brilliance. All of the judges were inspired by just how much good journalism is going on in Britain.”

The Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin, killed last year while reporting from the besieged city of Homs, is posthumously longlisted for the Orwell Book Prize for her collected journalism: On the Front Line.

Paul Preston’s The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain, is another of the dozen extraordinary longlisted titles, as is A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa, by 
A. T. Williams.

Clive Stafford Smith’s Injustice unpicks the case against Kris Maharaj, a British businessman who has spent 26 years on death row for a brutal double murder. Ioan Grillo’s El Narco investigates the bloody rise of the Mexican drug cartels. Carmen Bugan, in Burying the Typewriter, recalls her own childhood in Ceauşescu’s Romania.

“This year’s longlisted books show just how carefully they have to be crafted,” said Jean Seaton. “The range of writing, the passion of the research and the variety of manners in this marvellous set of books show a confident important writing culture. Go out and read them.”

The shortlists will be announced at the Boardroom, University of Westminster, Regents Street on the evening of Wednesday 17 April, ahead of a debate: “When censorship declines does freedom emerge?” Entry is free, booking essential.

The Orwell Prize aims to encourage political argument and enthuse the public about politics and political writing, and has become the official home of George Orwell online.

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