This evening The Orwell Prize for Books 2017 was awarded to Darren McGarvey, spoken word artist aka Loki, for his ground-breaking book Poverty Safari. The book vividly describes McGarvey's own experience of the impact of poverty on his life and his wider community in Glasgow.
A team from the Financial Times, comprising reporter Sarah O’Connor, data-analyst John Burn-Murdoch and photographer Christopher Nunn, won the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, for their report highlighting poverty's grip on the local economy of Blackpool and its subsequent impacts on the mental health of its people.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation said:
“Poverty Safari is not just an excellent example of political writing, but it is a book which needed to be written. It has given a voice to people who were not being heard. Horrifying and motivating in equal measure, it shows that poverty is not simply an evil in itself, but the way we talk and think about it prevents the action so desperately needed to protect our fellow citizens from harm.
“Poverty restricts choices and compromises dignity - no compassionate society should tolerate it and both winners should be lauded for throwing light on the issue so clearly.
“The fact that both of these major prizes have been awarded to writing on poverty in the UK is also a sign that the experiences of people trapped in poverty can no longer be ignored by governments. People care about poverty, and it is high time these voices were heard in the corridors of power and action taken to address the challenges people in poverty face today."