Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Stuart Syvret for the Orwell Prize?

I came across the "Orwell Prize" during my rambles around the internet. In case anyone does not know what it is, it is named after George Orwell. As the site itself notes.

The Orwell Prize is the pre-eminent British prize for political writing. There are three annual awards: a Book Prize, a Journalism Prize and a Blog Prize. They are awarded to the book, the journalism and the blogposts which are judged to have best achieved George Orwell's aim to 'make political writing into an art'. Homage to Catalonia, Down and Out in Paris and London, The Road to Wigan Pier, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm and Orwell's incomparable essays still resonate around the world as peerless examples of courageous independence of mind, steely analysis and beautiful writing. (1)

According to Booktrade, there are "More entries than ever before in all three categories"; these being books, journalism,blogs. For 2010, there are now 164 bloggers competing:

164 bloggers - nearly double last year's total of 83 - will do battle in the Blog Prize. Professional journalists, including BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders and Sky News foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall, will compete with blogosphere heavyweights including Iain Dale and Hopi Sen. There appears to be a 'Nightjack' effect after last year's Blog Prize was won by a pseudonymous detective, with a postal worker ('Roy Mayall'), a teacher ('Mr Teacher'), a social worker (named after the main character from 1984, 'Winston Smith'), a police officer ('PC Bloggs') and even a dominatrix ('sensory regulation') putting themselves forward anonymously. Joining a number of local councillors are MEPs Dan Hannan and Mary Honeyball, and MPs John Redwood and Douglas Carswell. Legal campaigner Jack of Kent (http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/) and exiled Jersey senator, Stuart Syvret (http://stuartsyvret.blogspot.com/) are among the more campaign-oriented entries.(2)

And I've checked, and there on the list itself (3) is:

Senator Stuart Syvret Senator Stuart Syvret Blog http://stuartsyvret.blogspot.com/

Of course there are 164 bloggers, and I'm not convinced that Stuart's style of polemic is quite the way Orwell would have done things. To use a metaphor, Stuart often seems like someone with a blunt cleaver, where Orwell's concise prose was more like a sharp scalpel. But it is quite a remarkable achievement that he has appeared on the list.

Anyone can make a submission, and the key test is whether he reaches the shortlist. However, the submission guidelines for blogs are interesting:

29. A submission for the Blog Prize will consist of ten blogposts by a single blogger. These blogposts may be taken from a range of blogs.
30. Submissions for the Blog Prize will be made electronically. The 'signature' referred to in clause 24 will be taken to mean verification of entry from an active email address.

So presumably, as I understand it, item 30 means he had to actually submit the blog entries himself.

I wonder where he heard of it? And the other interesting question: what ten blogposts did he choose?

(1) http://www.theorwellprize.co.uk/the-award/about.aspx
(2) http://www.booktrade.info/index.php/showarticle/25532
(3) http://www.theorwellprize.co.uk/the-award/entries-2010/blog-prize-2010.aspx

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The quality of Senator Syvret's writing is uneven at best, and would seldom be described as artful. In terms of the courage of his effort and the political importance of his blog, I think it might be hard to find an equal.

In America we find it astonishing that his blog has not yet resulted in much wider notice.

How is it that an apparent cover-up of all that horrendous orphanage abuse not a worthwhile international story? It is not likely that anyone outside of Jersey believes the government version of the investigation.