Awards: Orwell Book Winners, Mo Siewcharran Longlist

The 2022 Orwell Prize for Political Fiction was awarded to Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan. The judges said: "The focus of this novella is close, precise and unwavering: a beautifully written evocation of Ireland in the 1980s, precisely rendered; of a good man and his ordinary life; and of the decision he makes that unlocks major, present questions about social care, women's lives and collective morality. The very tightness of focus, and Keegan's marvelous control of her instrument as a writer, makes for a story at once intensely particular and powerfully resonant."

The Orwell Prize for Political Writing went to My Fourth Time, We Drowned by Sally Hayden. The judges said Hayden's reporting "is an extraordinary exploration of a modern reality using modern means: truly a book of our times. While many people seeking refuge from the terrible logics of repression, war and poverty cannot easily cross frontiers, phone and Facebook messages can. They allow contact with home but are also the means by which ransoms are gruesomely demanded by traffickers. But they are also the way in which Hayden explores the lives of people stuck under the control of traffickers, militias, the UN, and lets them speak to us as full human beings: hungry, ill, and often doomed in their quest for safety. She gets the terrible truth out to a world that has been far too indifferent."

Both winners receive £3,000 (about $3,550). Jean Seaton, director of the Orwell Foundation, observed that Hayden and Keegan "have, in very different ways, written gripping stories about things that should alarm us: there are awful truths right at the heart of our societies and systems. However, in their wit, elegance and compassion, these powerful winning books also help us think about the choices we make, and how to make the future better. Orwell would be proud."


Hachette UK has released a longlist for the Mo Siewcharran Prize, which was launched in 2019 "to help discover unpublished fiction writers from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds." The shortlist will be announced September 10 and a winner named later in the month. 

The winner receives £2,500 (about $2,955), an editorial session with a Quercus editor, introductory meetings to at least two literary agents, introductory session with the Quercus rights team, and meetings with the Quercus marketing and publicity teams. The winner's project will be considered for publication with an advance against royalties.

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