The short list for Orwell prize was recently announced and the late Christopher Hitchens missed out on a place in this list. Previously, Hitchens was among the 18 writers who were long listed for the Orwell Book Prize worth £3,000, but eventually could not make it to the short list that has recently been announced.
The main criterion for the selection of writers for Orwell Prize is the amount and quality of the dark content of the book. For example, two of the books who were included in the short listen happen to be Misha Glenny’s Dark Market and Richard Lloyd Parry’s People Who Eat Darkness.
These books mainly deal with topics such as murder, urban gangs and opium. According to the judges, the main things that the winners share are Precision, wit and elegance, which are the things that Orwell appreciated about any book.
The Orwell Prize is mainly based upon George Orwell’s ambition: “to make political writing into an art” and any book whose theme is closest to this manifestation is appreciated. Books that have previously won this prize include Tom Bingham’s The Rule of Law, Andrea Gillies’s Keeper, and Guardian journalist Andrew Brown’s Fishing in Utopia.
The books that were short listed this year include Siddhartha Deb’s The Beautiful and the Damned that is mainly a look at life in contemporary India, Toby Harnden’s Dead Man Risen which is the story of the Welsh Guards in Helmand in 2009, and Gavin Knight’s Hood Rat revolving around his investigation of Britain’s ganglands.
Siddhartha Deb’s book has been censored in India due to controversial content while Julia Lovell’s book that tackles with the history of opium war in Chine is also expected to get banned in China, which means that these books would have a hard time reaching to the public.
The books that have been short listed are from the categories of fiction as well as non fiction.
The final prize would be announced on May 23. The panel of the judges includes author and former winner of the prize Miranda Carter, Telegraph assistant books editor Sameer Rahim and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC.