Some complete works by George Orwell are coming to Substack.
On Oct. 28, the Orwell Foundation will launch Orwell Daily, which for free will serialize at least a portion of the author’s famous books and other writings. Orwell Daily begins with his debut, “Down and Out in London and Paris,” Orwell’s expose of poverty in two of the world’s wealthiest cities. Over the following several weeks, the Substack will run excerpts of some 1,000-1,500 words.
“We’re here to honor and celebrate and get people to think about Orwell,” says the foundation’s director, Jean Seaton.
Orwell, the pen name for Eric Arthur Blair, is known for the dystopian political novels as “Animal Farm” and “1984,” published the year before his death, in 1950. Admirers cite the British author often when warning about democracy’s decline, but the foundation also wants to raise awareness of his writing about homelessness in “Down and Out in London and Paris,” first published in 1933.
“It was his first piece of real reportage,” Orwell’s son, Richard Blair, said in a statement released Friday. “Orwell wanted to see what it was like to be in the gutter — what it was like to be seen as a ‘tramp’. There are many miniature essays you can extract, but it’s also terribly descriptive. It grabs you. And there’s a degree of humor too, which is important. He puts you right there alongside the people he was writing about.”
Jeremy Wikeley, the foundation’s project officer, says future serializations will be announced later in the year.
Numerous works, old and new, have been serialized on Substack. They range from “Moby-Dick” and “Frankenstein” to such contemporary releases as Anand Giridharadas’ “The True American: Murder and Mystery in Texas.” Substack newsletters such as “Dracula Daily” and “Edgar Allan Poe Daily” are dedicated entirely to excerpts from a given book or author.
The Orwell Foundation, which also also oversees a Substack newsletter of Orwell news and commentary, recently announced the Orwell Prize for Reporting Homelessness. The award is a partnership with The Centre for Homelessness Impact, and “will celebrate the art of evidence-led storytelling, accurate investigation and innovative policy reporting,” according to the foundation.