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The Orwell Prize Longlist Conversations: Europe

At: The Portobello Bookshop

On:29th April 2021, 7:00pm - 8:00pm

The Orwell Prize Longlist Conversations: Europe at The Portobello Bookshop

Join John Kampfner, Sarah Moss and Olivette Otele for a discussion of their Orwell Prize-longlisted work at this special online event in collaboration with The Orwell Foundation. John Kampfner's Why the Germans Do It Better and Olivette Otele's African Europeans: An Untold History are both longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing, while Summerwater by Sarah Moss is longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. The authors will be joined on the night by Angela Saini, who is a judge for this year's Political Writing prize.

The Orwell Prize longlists feature the finest political writing across non-fiction, fiction and journalism of last year: work that our judging panels believe best fulfils Orwell's state ambition "to make political writing into an art." Throughout the spring of 2021, the Orwell Foundation will be celebrating this writing in several ways, including a series of online events in association with independent bookshops across the U.K. These will spotlight some of the major themes arising from the longlists, and will feature writers from different lists being brought together to discuss their work.

John Kampfner is an award-winning author, broadcaster and foreign-affairs commentator. He began his career reporting from East Berlin (during the fall of the Wall) and Moscow (during the collapse of communism) for the Telegraph. After covering British politics for the Financial Times and BBC, he edited the New Statesman. He is a regular TV and radio pundit, documentary maker and author of five previous books, including the bestselling Blair's Wars.

Sarah Moss is the author of several novels and a memoir of her year living in Iceland, Names for the Sea, shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize. Her novels are SummerwaterCold EarthNight WakingBodies of Light (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize), Signs for Lost Children (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize), The Tidal Zone (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize) and Ghost Wall, which was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction in 2019.

Olivette Otele is Professor of the History of Slavery at the University of Bristol and Vice-President of the Royal Historical Society. She is an expert on the history of people of African descent and the links between memory, geopolitics and legacies of French and British colonialism.

Angela Sainiis an independent British science journalist and the author of three books, including Superior: The Return of Race Science. She presents radio and television programmes on the BBC and her writing has appeared in  The Sunday Times, Nature, New Scientist, National Geographic and Wired. She has won a number of national and international journalism awards.

Tickets include a £6 voucher that can be redeemed against any item on The Portobello Bookshop website – including books by the featured authors. There is also a Free Ticket option for those who are financially unable to purchase a ticket for this event.

Please note: Tickets for our events are non-refundable. Professional photography and videography may take place during this event. Thank you for your understanding.

The venue

The Portobello Bookshop

46 Portobello High Street
EH15 1DA

Telephone: 0131 629 6756


Wheelchair Access

We have a ramp at the front of the shop which has a ratio of 1:10 and loading capacity of 300kg, and so should be able to be used by most wheelchair users or those with mobility vehicles. The front doors are fully automated. Our shop interior is designed to allow access throughout for wheelchair users and prams, though please note there is only 700mm wide clearance to access the staff toilet.


We use a PA system to enhance the audio at our live events. We also have a hearing loop system installed, if you’d like to use our loop system during an event please let us know and we’ll make sure we have it set up and connected to the live audio feed during the event. If you wish to attend an event and require BSL interpretation, please give us a few weeks notice and we’ll do our best to arrange an interpreter.