Books  |  Jul 14, 2022

Claire Keegan wins the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction 2022

We are thrilled to share that Claire Keegan has won for The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, for her brilliant novella Small Things Like These

The Orwell Prizes are the UK’s most prestigious prizes for political writing. Every year, The Orwell Foundation awards prizes for the work that comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’.

Set in 1985 in an Irish town, Small Things Like These follows a coal and timber merchant doing his busy Christmas rounds. He feels the past rising up to meet him, and encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church. This is unforgettable story of hope, quiet heroism and tenderness.

The judges said of Small Things Like These: "The focus of this novella is close, precise and unwavering: a beautifully written evocation of Ireland in the 1980s, precisely rendered; of a good man and his ordinary life; and of the decision he makes that unlocks major, present questions about social care, women's lives and collective morality. The very tightness of focus, and Keegan's marvellous control of her instrument as a writer, makes for a story at once intensely particular and powerfully resonant."

Congratulations also to shortlistees for The Orwell Prize for Political Writing Polly Curtis (Behind Closed Doors) and Amia Srinivasan (The Right to Sex), and to Daniel Trilling, who was shortlisted for the Journalism Prize.