Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell) was born in 1903 in India, where his father was a civil servant. After studying at Eton, he served with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma for several years, and this inspired his first novel, Burmese Days. After two years in Paris, he returned to England to work as a teacher and then in a bookshop. In 1936 he travelled to Spain to fight for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, where he was badly wounded. During the Second World War he worked for the BBC. A prolific journalist and essayist, Orwell wrote some of the most influential books in English literature, including the dystopian Nineteen Eighty-Four and his political allegory Animal Farm. He died from tuberculosis in 1950.
Little that Orwell has written, here and elsewhere, has lost the hum of relevancy, from the causes of poverty and its long-term effects - it annihilates the future - to its everyday toll of boredom. -- Laurence Mackin * Irish Times * The thief who took the last of an ailing George Orwell's money from his Paris room in 1929 did a big favour to political literature. -- Vanessa Thorpe * Observer *