Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Writing - George Orwell's raisin d'etre

No better a role model is George Orwell but what were some of the occasions that motivated him?

Image result for george orwell

The BBC headquarters in London is getting a new resident: he's tall, bronze and likes a smoke. From Tuesday a statue of novelist George Orwell is to adorn the exterior of New Broadcasting House, a few minutes from where Orwell worked as a radio producer in World War Two. But what was the author of Nineteen Eighty-four (Orwell's original worded title) doing in the BBC? And did he like it?
For decades its staff have delighted in the suggestion Orwell took his notion of absolute hell from two years spent at the BBC.
Near the end of Nineteen Eighty-four (1984 is now more commonly used on book covers), Winston Smith finds himself trapped in the Ministry of Love's Room 101, "many metres underground".
He must face the worst thing in the world (which turns out to be a rat). Since the book came out in 1949 some have suggested it was Orwell's comment on a similarly-numbered room at Broadcasting House where he had to tolerate endless dull meetings. 


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The idea appeals to writers trying to make sense of what seems an unlikely part of Orwell's career - his time on the BBC staff from August 1941 to November 1943.
But Orwell didn't even work at Broadcasting House. When, aged 38, he became a Talks Assistant in the Overseas Empire Department and was based in premises the BBC had moved into at 55 Portland Place. 


Image result for 1984

The idea appeals to writers trying to make sense of what seems an unlikely part of Orwell's career - his time on the BBC staff from August 1941 to November 1943.
But Orwell didn't even work at Broadcasting House. When, aged 38, he became a Talks Assistant in the Overseas Empire Department and was based in premises the BBC had moved into at 55 Portland Place. 

Orwell was already a well-known journalist and novelist. But he wasn't world-famous, as he later became with Animal Farm (in 1945) and with Nineteen Eighty-four. 

At the back of the new statue will be a quote from a preface to Animal Farm and is something I'm sure many people, not just writers, often want to say.


"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

God Bless