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It is quite possible that, at some point during his life, George Orwell may have been arrested, at least once.
Or else found guilty. On the whole, however, he seems to have been mostly unremarkable; a quiet, unassuming person who lived his life as though it were a quiet, unassuming life.
In a recent interview with the BBC, Orwell offered some information regarding a recent arrest that almost certainly involved him – “about fifteen years ago”, his biographer Nigel Warburton told the station’s Andrew Marr Show.
“The first arrest I remember is that in 1973. I was in my early 20s, and I was arrested in a police station in Haringey at 6am. I was taken there, questioned in front of a court. They took me to the cells in the back for a few minutes, then put me in the cell with them – there was no lawyer. I was not given a warning.”
“I think the second arrest came in 1975 – that was very bad. They brought in a couple of undercover investigators – they were about 50. They sat in my cell, and it is the third one I remember. It started with the interrogator making comments to me. I had not been charged with anything,” he added.
When I mention to Orwell that I had the opportunity to speak to someone in an investigative capacity this week he tells me: “That was a stupid thing for me to do.” In fact, he says that this was his first encounter with a reporter before his subsequent career with the Observer.
Orwell’s interview with Marr was conducted in the context of his forthcoming book Nineteen Eighty Four, which will be published by Penguin in September.
In 1984, the fictional character Winston Smith’s life was thrown into utter chaos when he was forced to resign from the Ministry of Truth.
There were also, however, references to the author by some people in an unofficial capacity, and his work was mentioned by the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during her 1992 Conservative Party Conference.
“You can never really have too many of these, they can be made into an edible salad bowl and a very good starter or snack.”
–The Secret History of Popcorn
When I grew
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