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Christopher Hitchens' memoir among Orwell Prize 2011 nominations
Hitch-22 could take prestigious political writing award

Firebrand writer Christopher Hitchens will go up against ex-law lord Tom Bingham and former Orange Prize winner Helen Dunmore in this year's books category for the Orwell Prize, it was announced today.

Hitchens' memoir Hitch-22, Bingham's judicial examination The Rule of Law, and Dunmore's novel The Betrayal – a sequel to the award-winning The Siege, set in Stalinist Russia a decade later – are each in line to win £3,000 when the results are announced on 17 May.

A longlist of 18 books, revealed last month, was trimmed to a six-strong final shortlist by judges James Naughtie (BBC Radio 4 presenter), Ursula Owen (founder of Virago Press) and a Will Skidelsky (Observer books editor).

Oliver Bullough's Let Our Fame Be Great: Journeys Among the Defiant People of the Caucasus, Afsaneh Moqadam's Death to the Dictator! and D.R. Thorpe's Supermac: The Life of Harold MacMillan complete the shortlist.

Jane Seaton, director of the prize, said the nominated books complemented one another well:

"There is a recurrent theme in this year’s books, and it is very Orwellian: fear. From Dunmore’s gripping novel about life in Stalin’s Russia to Oliver Bullough on a previously unknown genocide, the horror of authoritarian power is displayed.

"But there is an answering theme – from Tom Bingham’s Rule of Law which lays out (for all societies) how law not just written down but in practice preserves liberty and order, to Thorpe’s wonderfully humane biography of Macmillan, seamlessly weaving the personal and the affairs of state."

She also praised Hitchens' work: " [A] grand memoir, full of brilliant writing and sharp judgements brimming with a very particular life – that cherishes the individual."

For the full article

The Guardian