Debut authors Tom Crewe and Peter Apps have won the 2023 Orwell Prizes for Political Fiction and Political Writing, respectively.
The prizes aim to reward works that meet Orwell’s ambition “to make political writing into an art”. The winning books, which are both debuts, were announced during a ceremony at Conway Hall in London on June 22nd. Each author will receive £3,000.
Tom Crewe won the prize for Political Fiction for his debut novel The New Life, which dramatises the struggle to change Britain’s laws related to homosexuality in the 1890s. Peter Apps, on the other hand, won the prize for Political Writing for Show Me the Bodies: How We Let Grenfell Happen, a “magnificent” and “forensic” account of the policy decisions leading up to the Grenfell tower fire.
The Orwell Prizes are the UK’s most prestigious prize for political writing and are awarded each year to the books and journalism which best meet Orwell’s ambition.
The judging panel for the 2023 Political Fiction Book Prize, which included Alison Flood, Boyd Tonkin (chair), Julia Jordan and Tomiwa Owolade, selected the winners based on the values derived from Orwell’s own writing. The judges are encouraged to reflect, personally and as a group, on the works submitted and select those that best meet the criteria for the prize.