Peter Hitchens has won the Orwell Journalism Prize for his foreign reporting for the Mail on Sunday.
Shortlisted for the third time in four years, Hitchens’ winning selection of articles included reports from Prague, South Africa, Tokyo, Ottawa and China, as well as a counterfactual piece asking ‘What if the Berlin Wall didn’t fall?’
The judges said: “In choosing this year’s winner, we went back to Orwell.
“In one of his essays, he wrote of Charles Dickens: ‘When one reads any strongly individual piece of writing, one has the impression of seeing a face somewhere behind the page…
“It is the face of a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is generously angry – in other words, of a nineteenth-century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.’
“It is with this in mind that we award the Orwell Prize to Peter Hitchens.”
Hitchens’ award was unveiled at a ceremony in London last night at which pseudonymous social worker “Winston Smith” collected the blog prize for “Working with the Underclass”.
Judges praised Smith’s “passion and conviction” that readers should “know what wrongs had been done in our names in some of those places where most of us choose not to look.”
Andrea Gillies’ Keeper was the unanimous choice for the book prize.
Keeper chronicles the author’s experience of caring for her mother-in-law as her Alzheimer’s disease accelerates, while also running a bed and breakfast, being a mother of three children and failing to write a novel.
Documentary maker Norma Percy was awarded the Orwell special lifetime achievement prize.