Person Born 25/6/1903 Died 21/1/1950
George Orwell was born in Bengal as Eric Arthur Blair, his father was a British colonial civil servant. Joined the Indian imperial police in Burma but left in 1927 and decided to become a writer.
He went to Paris but was unsuccessful as a writer there, he wrote 'Down and Out in Paris and London', published in 1933 - he took the name George Orwell, shortly before its publication. This was followed by his first novel 'Burmese Days' in 1934. He considered himself a Socialist and in late 1936 Orwell travelled to Spain to fight for the Republicans against Franco's Nationalists. He was forced to flee in fear of his life from Soviet-backed communists who were suppressing revolutionary socialist dissenters. The experience turned him into a lifelong anti-Stalinist.
Between 1941 and 1943, Orwell worked on propaganda for the BBC. In 1943, he became literary editor of the Tribune, a weekly left-wing magazine. By now he was a prolific journalist, writing articles, reviews and books. In 1945, Orwell's 'Animal Farm' was published. A political fable set in a farmyard but based on Stalin's betrayal of the Russian Revolution, it made Orwell's name and ensured he was financially comfortable for the first time in his life. 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' was published four years later. Set in an imaginary totalitarian future, the book made a deep impression, with its title and many phrases - such as 'Big Brother is watching you', 'newspeak' and 'doublethink' - entering popular use.
His essay on writing clear English, "Politics and the English Language", 1946, is still very highly regarded by many professional writers. However, Orwell's health was deteriorating and he died of tuberculosis at University College Hospital. Grave is in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire.