George Orwell

British, 1903-1950

Eric Arthur Blair, who used the pen name George Orwell, is widely considered one of the greatest writers of the past century. He was born in India to a high-born but financially troubled English family, who was unable to send him to university without a scholarship. He chose instead to serve on the colonial police force in Burma, where he preferred to associate with poor Burmese than with his colonial compatriots. Even after returning to England, Blair continued to be drawn to the poor and working-class in his life and work. Although his novels Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm are now the most widely-read of his works, Blair was primarily a nonfiction writer. The occasionally radical political content in his essays, memoirs, and journalistic works brought him some censure during his life, but they now make up one of the most celebrated bodies of work in the English language.