A Brief Biography of George Orwell

By Tim Lambert

His Early Life

George Orwell was one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. He was born Eric Arthur Blair on 25 June 1903 in India. His father was a colonial civil servant and the family was middle class but not particularly well off. However, when Orwell was only a year old his mother moved back to England while his father stayed in India until 1912. Meanwhile, in 1911 George went to St Cyprian’s School in Eastbourne. In 1917 he won a scholarship to Eton but in 1921 he joined the British police in Burma. However, Orwell grew dissatisfied and he resigned in 1927.

George Orwell decided to become a writer. He also began living among the poor. In 1928 he journeyed to Paris. For a short time in 1932-1933, Orwell worked as a teacher in a small private school. In 1934 Orwell got a part-time job in a second-hand bookshop.

Meanwhile, in 1933 his first book was published Down and Out in Paris and London. In 1934 his first novel Burmese Days was published. In 1935 George Orwell had another novel published. It was called A Clergyman’s Daughter. It was followed in 1936 by Keep the Aspidistra Flying. Also in 1936, Orwell married Eileen. (She died in 1945).

In 1936 George Orwell was commissioned to write a book about poverty in northern England. The Road to Wigan Pier was published in 1937.

Meanwhile, Orwell, a Socialist left for Spain in December 1936 to fight in the Spanish Civil War. (The civil war was between the left-wing Republicans and the Fascist Nationalists. Some foreign volunteers took part). While there he was wounded in the throat. Meanwhile, Communists began to arrest dissenters, and Orwell was forced to flee from Spain. After arriving in Britain he wrote A Homage to Catalonia, published in 1938.

The Great Writer

However, by 1938 Orwell was suffering from tuberculosis. He spent the winter of 1938-1939 in Morocco. In 1939 another novel, Coming Up For Air was published. At the beginning of the Second World War George Orwell was rejected for military service but from 1941 to 1943 he worked for the BBC. In 1943 he became literary editor for the Tribune a left-wing magazine.

Then in 1945 his great satire Animal Farm was published. In 1949 his masterpiece 1984 was published. But his health was failing. In October 1949 George Orwell married his second wife Sonia. George Orwell died on 21 January 1950. He was only 46.