Consolations of a hangover

Well, Fishing in Utopia did win the Orwell prize. This is delicious and wonderful. I knew a couple of the judges liked it. I also knew – or at least strongly suspected – that one didn’t. I knew Tony Judt was also on the list, and thought he was a shoo-in. While faffing about yesterday morning, the FWB said to me, “look at it it this way: either you’re beaten by Tony Judt or you’re beaten with him. Neither of these things are a humiliation.” And she was right, and I felt greatly lightened. I still didn’t think I’d win, though, until about half way through Ferdy Mount’s speech, which was a long and generous appreciation of all the books, and three more that were on the longlist. But it wasn’t in any discernible order: not alphabetical, nor reversed alphabetical. So, I thought, the winner will be the last one he names and with every book from then on a bubble of hope grew inside me until it burst and left me almost speechless when my book came last and I had won.

Afterwards Francis Wheen tried to persuade me that I would have to make another speech at the end of the dinner. He turned out to be the fourth or fifth friend who had won it before me: Neal Ascherson, Tim Garton Ash, Brian Cathcart … the party afterwards is blurring already in my memory.

There were three Nick Cohen jokes in the speeches, but the man himself was not there.

Also the paperback is now out: publication was brought forward to coincide with this. Hurry, and you can have one of the collectors’ edition which has “Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize” on the back. The next run will say “Winner”.

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21 Responses to Consolations of a hangover

  1. Brendan McCarthy says:

    —and really deserved. Congratulations. Your Sweden really lifts off the page.

  2. Sean says:

    I’m so delighted for you, and not in the least surprised. Really wonderful news.

  3. Oliver says:

    What sean said. Frabjous day

  4. Gunnar says:

    Finally something self-evidently sensible happens! Congratulations!

  5. Mrs Tilton says:

    Congratulations, that’s wonderful news.

    We really do need to meet up one day and, when we do, I really will press you to sign my copy, embarrassingly fanboyish as that might seem.

  6. Well done. (Well, it was well done before the prize, of course.)

  7. David Weman says:

    Congratulations.

  8. Pingback: Archimedes’ Hot Tub » Blog Archive » Andrew Brown wins the Orwell Prize

  9. Pete Carlton says:

    Congratulations! (I haven’t read it yet but I’ve enjoyed your other books.)

  10. Francis Wheen says:

    Many congratulations. Like Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent, you will now become an Internet sensation, with 200 squillion people watching your acceptance speech on YouTube. Then there will be the makeover, the eyebrow-plucking, the invitations from Larry King and Oprah Winfrey. I assume that the paparazzi are on your doorstep by now. Spontaneous street parties are already being held in Pleshey, and in High Easter comely Essex maidens are dancing on the village green. Well done, dear Andrew.

  11. This seems to me to be a good thing. You write more than decently well. You tell an excellent story, and you have no fear of holding your own side up to the light. A prize named in honour of George Orwell would seem to be the appropriate thing. Congratulations!

  12. chris y says:

    Way to go Mr Brown!!! Hope the hangover isn’t permanent.

  13. apostropher says:

    Wow, Andrew. How very exciting! Congratulations.

  14. mcmc says:

    Congratulations, Andrew!

  15. Knecht Ruprecht says:

    Congratulations! Fantastic!

  16. acb says:

    Thanks, all of you. These things are delightful. And especially welcome to all the unfoggederiat. Stick around and I will try to say something interesting. Or I could go over there and do the same. Or I could get on and actually do some bloody work.

  17. Peter Shields says:

    Bra gjort! Gratulationer! Djup respekt från Chagford.

    Tack vare Google Translate.

  18. Oliver says:

    Oy. Enough’s enough. Come back.

  19. James says:

    Congratulations. I read the book a few weeks ago. Like your book, my blog also deals with a different view of Sweden. It might be worth checking out: Notes from the North – http://notesfromthenorthjames.blogspot.com/2009/06/midsommarafton_25.html

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