Tom Crewe & Daniel Lavelle win Orwell Prizes
At a ceremony at Conway Hall in London on 22nd June, Tom Crewe received the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction for his debut novel The New Life (Chatto & Windus), and two writers – Daniel Lavelle and Freya Marshall Payne – were jointly awarded the inaugural Orwell prize for reporting homelessness which recognised work by people experiencing homelessness and from journalists shining a light on the problem and its potential solutions. Daniel Lavelle, who grew up in care, won for pieces for the Guardian included Being Homeless felt Inevitable and Marshall Payne was recognised partly for her warning in the Guardian that the issue was about to get worse with the withdrawal of measures put in place during Covid.
The New Life was praised for its “vivid” characters, with Tom Crewe writing about their social, intellectual and erotic lives with “extraordinary verisimilitude". Moreover, they said it was “wonderfully precise about things that themselves do not always seem appropriate to precision” and that “the novel considers the similarities between desire and intellectual life, which both risk producing things that may ultimately prove abortive or bathetic. Tom Crewe stays brilliantly faithful to the language, the outlook and the conventions of 1890s London even as he shows, and investigates, the distance between then and now. With compassion, lucidity and poise he explores both the creation of new sexual identities and the nature of social activism, as the ideals of liberation tangle with shame, fear and doubt,” they said.
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