5x15: with The Orwell Foundation
Rebecca Solnit is the author of more than twenty books, including the forthcoming book Orwell’s Roses, which explores Orwell’s involvement with plants, particularly flowers, and how they illuminated his other commitments as a writer and antifascist, and the intertwined politics of nature and power. Her memoir, Recollections of My Non-Existence, was longlisted for the 2021 Orwell Prize for Political Writing and shortlisted for the 2021 James Tait Black Award. She is also the author of The Faraway Nearby, Wanderlust, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, A Paradise Built in Hell, Men Explain Things to Me and many essays on feminism, activism, social change, hope and the climate crisis. A contributing editor to Harper's, she writes regularly for the Guardian, the London Review of Books and the Los Angeles Times. She lives in San Francisco.
Ali Smith was born in Inverness in 1962 and is the author of Summer, which won the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction 2021, as well as Spring, Winter, Autumn, Public library and other stories, How to be both, Shire, Artful, There but for the, The first person and other stories, Girl Meets Boy, The Accidental, The whole story and other stories, Hotel World, Other stories and other stories, Like and Free Love. Hotel World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize. The Accidental was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize. How to be both won the Bailey’s Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Autumn was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017 and Winter was shortlisted for The Orwell Prize for Books in 2018. Ali Smith lives in Cambridge.
Joshua Yaffa is a correspondent for The New Yorker, based primarily in Moscow, Russia and the author of Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin’s Russia, winner of the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2021. He has also written for the Economist, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Bloomberg Businessweek, The New Republic, and Foreign Affairs. For his work in Russia, he has been named a fellow at New America, a recipient of the American Academy’s Berlin Prize, and a finalist for the Livingston Award. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, and master’s degrees in journalism and international affairs from Columbia University, where he was a visiting scholar at the Harriman Institute and taught at the journalism school for several years. He is originally from San Diego, California.
D.J. (David) Taylor is a writer and critic and a trustee of both the Orwell Foundation and the Orwell Archive at University College London. He is currently working on annotated editions of Orwell's six novels with the first two volumes - Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four - appearing earlier this year. His second biography of Orwell, titled Orwell: The New Life, is due for publication in 2023. His first, Orwell: The Life, won the Whitbread Biography Prize in 2003. His twelve novels include Trespass (1998) and Derby Day (2011), both of which were longlisted for the Booker Prize, and, most recently, Rock and Roll is Life: The True Story of the Helium Kids by One Who Was There (2018). Stewkey Blues, his latest collection of short stories, will be published early next year. His journalism appears in a number of publications on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Times Literary Supplement, the Wall Street Journal, the New Criterion, the Guardian, the Critic and, anonymously, in Private Eye.