Archive for the ‘Peter Beaumont’ tag

Orwell prize winners – Beaumont and Hennessy

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At the Orwell awards last night to see two Peters, Beaumont and Hennessy, win for their journalism and literature respectively, and to see Newsnight win a freshly minted prize for brave, on-the-ground reporting. Beaumont, foreign affairs editor at the Observer, won for a series of remarkable reports from Iraq, in which he has managed to convey the growing brutality of the conflict from both the Iraqi and the American perspectives. Read, for example, this gripping dispatch from Burhiz, in which Beaumont explains how General Petraeus’ ‘clear, hold and build’ strategy is turning into a ‘deadly game of snakes and ladders’. Or his horrifying piece about the ‘Hidden victims of a brutal conflict: Iraq’s women‘. And last month he summed up his time in Iraq on the fourth anniversary of the war with ‘How the good turned bad’ (Part 1 & Part 2).
Beaumont was a worthy winner amongst a shortlist that included Jonathan Freedland, Martin Bright, John Rentoul, Steve Richards and Peter Hitchens. I confess I hadn’t read Hitchens’ foreign dispatches for the Mail on Sunday – for which he was nominated rather than for his ‘fire and brimstone’ columns (see for example ‘Iran – a nation of nose jobs, not nuclear war‘ or ‘The Nashis – intimidating and harassing‘).
Hennessy’s book, Having It So Good, Britain in the Fifties, was a more surprising choice – not because it’s not a good book – but just because it seems less in keeping with the spirit of Orwell than Rory Stewart’s Occupational Hazards or Lewis Page’s Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs.
The stature of the Orwell Prize could be seen by how many distinguished journalists and authors packed into the Frontline Club. Which makes it odd that it receives virtually no media coverage (the Frontline Club does not yet mention it on its website since it was a private function… but will be soon – see comment).
It was also very good to see the Orwell expanding to encompass broadcasting footage – particularly since the judges picked out specific dispatches – notably David Loyn’s astonishing report from Afghanistan. All signs suggest the award will go from strength to strength.

Addendum 4pm: Ben Dowell from the Guardian has now published an article on the prize (with Hennessy’s name spelt wrong)

Written by Martin Moore

April 25th, 2007 at 7:51 am

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