Orwell Prize opens its arms to political bloggers

LONDON - The Orwell Prize, one of the UK's more pre-eminent nods for political writers, is now accepting submissions from bloggers, to be judged alongside its traditional awards for book writing and journalism.

The special prize for blogs, as with books and journalism, is awarded to "those who come closest to achieving George Orwell's ambition 'to make political writing into an art'."

Political bloggers have until January 14 2009 to enter up to 10 of their posts on the Orwell Prize website.

Members of the public can also nominate bloggers and discuss blogs in forums on the website.

The decision to allow bloggers to enter comes after the Orwell Prize began running George Orwell's diaries from 1938 on a separate website earlier this year.

Each entry is published to the day 70 years after it was written and will run until 2012 (1942).

Jean Seaton, professor of media history and the official historian of the BBC, said: "This year, we started blogging Orwell's diaries and it has ricocheted all over the world. So it's only natural that we want to give a prize for the kind of blog writing that Orwell would have appreciated."

Jenny Abramsky, former director of BBC Audio and Music, now chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund and Geoffrey Wheatcroft, journalist and writer, will form the blog and journalism jury.

Ian Jack, journalist and former editor of literary magazine Granta and the Independent on Sunday and Ferdinand Mount, writer, novelist and former policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher, will judge the book prize.

Both juries will merge to choose the shortlists and winners of all three prizes after selecting a longlist in each category.

The longlists will be announced on February 25 2009, the shortlists on March 25 and the winners oon April 22.

The Orwell Prize has been awarded to political writers since 1994. Previous winners include Lord David Lipsey from 'The Economist', political commentator Hugo Young and BBC2's current affairs flagship 'Newsnight'.