January 2013 | Nate Pedersen

George Orwell Day

George_Orwell_press_photo.jpgYesterday was the inaugural "George Orwell Day" in the United Kingdom, held in commemoration of the writer's work on the sixty-third anniversary of his death.  Orwell died in London on January 21, 1950 of complications from tubercolosis.  He was 46 years old.

Orwell's estate joined forces with the Orwell Prize and Penguin (the author's publisher) to create and launch the soon-to-be annual "Orwell Day."  The holiday is intended to "celebrate [Orwell's] writing in all its forms and explore the profound influence he has had on the media and discourse of the modern world."

In celebration of the holiday, Orwell's famous essay on political language, "Politics and the English Language," is being given away for free on the website of the Orwell Prize.

Penguin also launched new editions of four Orwell classics: Animal Farm, 1984, Down and Out in Paris and London, and Homage to Catalonia.  The cover of 1984 is particularly notable for any Penguin classics collectors, as the title has been purposefully blacked-out:

1984.jpgThe bold new cover for 1984 is wonderfully effective - both as a graphic design piece and an ironic statement in perfect alignment with the text.

Any of our UK readers can also tune-in to BBC Radio 4's series of radio adaptations of Orwell works, which begin on January 26.  The BBC will produce adaptations of the four classics mentioned above in addition to readings of Orwell essays and factual programming on Orwell's life and times.