George Orwell: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about George Orwell.

  • George Orwell was an English writer and journalist. He is best known for writing 1984, one of the most quoted books of all time.
  • He was born in India in 1903 and named Eric Blair. He came up with his pen-name, George Orwell, by combining the name of England’s patron saint with the name of one his favourite rivers, the River Orwell in Suffolk.

  • Orwell attended the prestigious Eton college, where he was taught French by another famous writer, Aldous Huxley (the author of a Brave New World). After graduating, he joined the Imperial Police in Burma.
  • As a journalist, George Orwell wrote over 350 articles, as well as several well known books. He also wrote a play and almost 30 collections of short stories.

George Orwell

  • George Orwell spent 2 years living in poverty in Paris during the 1920s. He worked as a dishwasher in a luxury hotel, had all his money stolen from his hotel, and became very ill. He used these experiences to write Down and Out in Paris and London.
  • During the 1930s, Orwell researched poverty and living conditions in the north of England. The resulting book, The Road to Wigan Pier, caused him to be watched by the police for 12 years.
  • In 1937, Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil war against Franco. He was shot in the arm and throat and could not speak for several weeks.
  • Animal Farm, one of Orwell’s most famous works, was published in 1945. Although featuring animals as main characters, the book reflects the events that led up to and followed the Russian Revolution of 1917.
  • Orwell’s book 1984 was published in 1949 and has been voted one of the 100 best books in English. It led to several expressions which are still used, such as ‘Big Brother is watching you’, and ‘thought crime’.
  • Orwell was a heavy smoker for most of his life and suffered from tuberculosis. He died from the disease in a London hospital in 1950, aged just 46.
  • Some of Orwell’s books include: 1984, Animal Farm, Coming Up for Air, The Road to Wigan Pier and Homage to Catalonia.