Jean Seaton discusses Orwell at the Bristol Festival of Ideas

22nd December 2019


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2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the first publication of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. It’s a book that is as relevant today as when first published, covering as it does totalitarianism; fake news; the suppression of dissent and freedom; two-minute hate (the equivalent of online mobs and ‘lock her up’ chants); Big Brother and surveillance; doublethink; social media spying; strong men in power where tyrannies rule. The growth of populism, nationalism and fears for the future of democracy are often seen as Orwellian. Nineteen Eighty-Four is a book that has lost none of its power and remains full of ideas about the way we live, work, learn and protest today. It’s a guide for troubled times.

As part of the Bristol Festival of Ideas, Prof. Jean Seaton joined a panel to debate Orwell and the meaning and importance of Nineteen Eighty-Four today – and how we can reject the 1984 nightmare. The panel comprised; Dorian Lynskey (author of The Ministry of Truth: a Biography of George Orwell’s 1984) joins Jean Seaton (director of the Orwell Foundation, and Prof. of Communication and CAMRI) and Ece Temelkuran (novelist, commentator and author most recently of How to Lose a Country: The Seven Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship). Chaired by Sarah LeFanu.

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