Y hinkyou know
Chris Langham as Orwell in 8802's recent documentary
One hundred years of George Orwell. Wolds: Allan Radcliffe
nyone who eyer picked up a hook could tell
you a tact or two about (ieorge ()rw'eII. I
mean. he’s ()rw'eII. right'.’ Author ol the two key political satires of leth century linglish literature. :liiiiiiu/ Mum and [984. anti-totalitai‘ian Visionary. uncanny originator of eyeryday terms such as ‘douhlespuik'. ‘thought police‘ and most chillingly. for all the wrong reasons ‘Big Brother is Watching‘.
And then there are the eerily pow'erl'ul and eminently quotahle lines. ‘:\II animals are equal hut some are more equal than others' and ‘\\'ar is Peace. I‘reedom is Slayery. Ignorance is Strength.‘ a sentiment (ieorge W Biish seemed to haye emhraced when he spoke of' his desire ‘to defend the cause of peace' during the war on Iraq.
This August. Iidinhurgh's International Book I-‘estiyal will mark the centenary of Iiric Arthur BI;iii"s hirth in Motilai'i. India. with eyents proyiding I‘resh perspectiyes on the author eyery'one thinks they know. yet whose life. work and politics hetray some glaring contradictions. ()rwell was. alter all. the egalitarian who wished to escape from ‘eyery I‘orin of man‘s dominion oyer man". yet enlisted in the Imperial ('iyil Seryice as a Burmese policeman. He‘s the old Iitonian under-achieyer from a ‘low er-upper middle class' Iainily. who recorded his e\pei‘iences Iiy ing among the poor in “113‘s Down and Uni in Paris and London. He's the pacil‘ist. anti-Stalinist who fought for a .\Iar\ist group in the Spanish (‘i\i| War. the awkward squad memher who poured scorn on middle class ‘socialists’ in 'lilic Road to Il'igun l’ii'i'.
Still think you know your ()rwell'.’ .\'o\eIist and biographer I)J ILLVIOI' kicks oil the (‘harlotte Square series hy exploring these \ery contradictions in what promises to he an illuminating ey ent. ()ne ol‘ the most
erudite aiid Iiyely dehatcs ol' the I'estiyal should he hctween Bernard (lick and Scott Lucas. who will cast light on certain controyersial aspects of ()rw'eII's legacy. Lucas. author of Orange ()rwv/l uml Illt’ Ifr'li‘uy'u/ of l)i'\wiit argues that '()rwelI‘s helielis ultimately led him to defend the political system that he was supposedly criticising'. a contention seemingly borne out hy the author's alleged spying on his "socialist. Iil'IL‘lltls Iol‘ .\II().
Yet. ('rick helieyes the (‘old \Var tendency to claim ownership of his noyels as mere anti-communist prophesy ignores the hreadth and suhtlety of his writing. ‘IIe had the common touch.‘ says ('rick. ‘Ile had a wry wide c\perience. He could he serious hut also deliherately. ol'l'cnsiyely proyocatiy'e. You'ye got to
respect him tor the \ai'iety of his writing. the range oI
his work. the way he could wrap tip serious points.‘ (’rick sees the centenary as an opportunity to revisit ()rwell's lesser known works. ‘IIis lasting legacy will not he /(/.\'4. which will hecome \ery dated.’ he says. ‘IIe‘II he remeiiihered for hisjournalisin. especially his inﬂuential wartime articles in the 'I'i'i'liiuii'.' .-\ppropriaie|y. another ()i'weIIian Booklest highlight
includes an insight into political journalism courtesy of
lain .\Iacwhirter and ('hannel 5's head of news and current atlairs. ('hris Shaw. I)oes ()rw'eII's assertion that ‘ahoye all I wanted to make political writing into an art‘ hold true in these days ot‘ spin and tahloid tittIe- tattIe'.’ Meanwhile. ;\I. Kennedy. James Wood and Iirica Wagner will dehate the art of literary criticism a practice ()rweII Iaiiioiisly wondered was 'iiot a huge network of humhug'.
Edinburgh International Book Festival, 0131 624 5050, 9-25 Aug.
War, sex and 705 telly
Douglas Coupland It‘s not all abOut high-flying American writers this year. yOu know. There are some awesome Canadian authors appearing too. and this List sponsored show platforms one of the best exponents of forward planning around. Studio Theatre. 624 5050, 24 Aug, 7pm, £8 (£6).
Susan Sontag A trio of exhilarating events from one of the USA's most foremost s‘OCIaI thinkers as she tackles topics including the imagery and meaning of war as GISCUSSGO in Regarding the Pain of Others. her forthcoming book. Studio Theatre, 624 5050. t 7 Aug. 5pm, £7 (£5): Sp/ege/teht, 72 Aug, 7.30pm, £8 (6); Main Theatre, .73 Aug, 77.30am, £7 (£5).
Andrew O’Hagan In his previous two books, he's written about missmg persons and ageing socialists. But with he struck a nerve or six wuth Personality, his fictional tale of a tragic Italian-Scot Singer who rose to fame on a 70s telly talent show. Studio Theatre. 624 5050, 74 Aug, 3pm, E 7 (£5); 768 77Aug, 7pm, £8 (£6).
John Irving Possibly the coup of this year's literary bonanza as New Hampshire's scribbling genius makes a rare pair of appearances on these shores. Book yesterday or risk losing your chance to discover the world according to John. Main Theatre, 624 5050, 22 Aug, 8pm, £8 (£6); 23 Aug. 77.30am, £7 (5).
Candace Bushnell She almost single-handedly reinvented the mindset of the modern NYC female through her columns which in turn inspired a telly seriesYou may have heard of it. Here. the now happily married writer discusses her literary purswts. Main Theatre, 624 5050, 23 Aug, 8pm, £8 ($6).
I”—';‘ J J 23237.15 LIST 31