Give £10 to the 'Buy a book for Burma' appeal to send a George Orwell classic to the very first Burmese literary festival. You can specify which title - Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm or Burmese Days - in your comment.
Burma was George Orwell's first formative experience beyond Britain; it made him, it haunted him, and he died thinking of writing another novel based on it. In 1922 he had gone to Burma as a police officer in the British Imperial Service. It was the terrible contradictions of imperial power and its injustices he was able to identify that gave him his first political and literary voice. He stayed five years and wrote 'The Hanging' and 'Shooting an Elephant'. Burma was the inspiration for Orwell's first novel, Burmese Days .
The Orwell Prize rewards writing, journalism that best represents Orwell's ambition, 'to make political writing into an art'. The prize has also developed around the themes that Orwell provides: censorship, the role of imagination, the value of proper reporting and a fearless pursuit of truthfulness. We have developed Orwell's work in Burma into a series of panels about contemporary Burma. The 2010 prize launched on the debate, 'What next for Burma?' Including politicians and activists, we longlisted Emma Larkin, a prominent writer on Burma, for her book Everything is Broken and we discussed and screened Burma VJ.
In February 2013 we are delighted to be taking the prize to the Irrawaddy Literary Festival – the very first english language literary festival in Burma. We will run debates with local writers and journalists, and take prize winners and discussions to the festival. The festival’s patron, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, says:
“Literature has always been a big part of my life and I hope this festival, which brings together some of the finest talent from Burma, the UK and elsewhere will encourage more people to explore the world of literature and further their understanding of the English language.”.