Founder: Dione Venables
The following is the complete list of Orwell Society Committee members for 2017-2018
Richard Blair – Patron
As the adopted son of George Orwell, I am honoured to be invited to be patron of this society. Since there is no blood relationship, I have followed a very different career path. My upbringing and training is in agriculture, followed by a period working for a well known tractor company. Redundancy in the mid-eighties led to a complete change, which involved the ownership of a holiday complex. Following the sale a few years ago I am now fully retired and am in a position to give more time to all things Orwell, including the Orwell Society. I hope that it will provoke, not only light-hearted and serious discussions about Orwell himself, but also about the issues he took passionate interest in.
Richard Lance Keeble – Chairman
Richard is Professor of Journalism at the University of Lincoln, has edited Orwell Today (Arima, Bury St Edmunds, 2012), a collection of essay by top international researchers on the life and works of George Orwell. His chapter looks at Orwell’s complex relationship with the intelligence services. He has also written a critical assessment of Orwell’s war reporting for Journalism Studies (Vol.2, No. 3) and an analysis of his As I Please column in Tribune in The Journalistic Imagaination: Literary Journalists from Defoe to Capote and Carter which he co-edited (Routledge, 2007).
“Orwell has always inspired me as a radical, progressive, dissident, politically engaged journalist. His ability to write in so many different genres – magazine column, film and book reviews, eye-witness reportage, autobiography, novel and so on – never ceases to amaze. Not only did he virtually invent the discipline of cultural studies with his writings on popular culture – but what particularly grabs me is his humour.”
Quentin Kopp – Events
Quentin is an independent Management Consultant focusing on improving business performance through improved development of people and processes and has worked with businesses around the world. He also supervises Masters Students in his areas of expertise at Warwick University. His earlier career was spent in HR and then Managing Director roles in large engineering and clothing groups. Quentin’s father Georges Kopp met his Mother through having been Orwell’s Commanding Officer in the Spanish Civil War.
“I have been a keen reader of Orwell’s work since my teenage years. The clarity of his thought and his lucid expression always impressed me and are an example to all still. At a time when people decided what they thought in relation to their ideology, his clear and independent approach was and remains refreshingly different.”
Neil Smith – Treasurer and Membership Secretary
Neil joined the Committee as Secretary in 2013. Neil is an accountant who worked for the energy company E.ON for 31 years and was responsible for the company’s UK pension scheme. Before that he had various finance and treasury roles including a spell working in Louisville, Kentucky in the United States.
He currently chairs the trustee board of the Royal National Institute of the Deaf Pension Scheme. Neil is a keen runner and football fan, supporting Leeds United and Solihull Moors.
“I read Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm at school but it was reading Down and Out in Paris and London in my late teens that inspired me to a lifelong love of all things Orwell. I admire hugely Orwell’s honesty and clarity – something for all us all to aspire to.”
Updated August 2018
Masha Karp – Journal Editor.
Masha Karp is a a London-based freelance journalist with a special interest in relations between Russia and the West. She is a translator of “Animal Farm ” into Russian (first published in 2001) and the author of a Russian biography of Orwell (to be published). Masha worked for the BBC World Service for 18 years, she was Russian Features editor from 1997 to 2009.
She is a trustee of “Rights in Russia” NGO and writes on Russian politics and literature for the national press in the UK. Apart from Orwell she has published translations of many writers, including Virginia Woolf, Dylan Thomas, W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Jennings, Alice Munro, Andreas Griffius and Nicolaus Lenau, as well as articles on translation. She is a member of the St Petersburg Writers’ Union and the Literary Translators Guild in Russia and a chair of the Pushkin Club in Britain.
“You can’t understand contemporary politics without Orwell”.
Ann is new to the Orwell Society Committee and is bringing to her role her first-hand experience of teaching English Literature (including Orwell’s political novels) in schools in the UK and Brussels over a period of twenty-five years. She has also worked as an examiner of A’level and Pre-U papers. Ann has published a paper on Shakespeare’s play The Tempest and is a member of the Society of Authors. In October 2017 she gave a talk at the Bury St Edmunds Literary Festival on George Orwell in Southwold.
The connection between Orwell’s life and work first caught my attention when I lived for fifteen years in Shropshire and I learned about his friendship with the Buddicom family in Ticklerton. Since moving to Suffolk in 2014 I have enjoyed investigating how the east coast town of Southwold and its people influenced the writer at the outset of his writing life. The relationship between Orwell’s own experience of places and people and how these find a way into his work, is a fascinating topic.
Leslie Hurst – Information and Web Presence
Benedict Cooper – Publicity
[Details to follow]
Missing photographs will be supplied as soon as possible. 4 May 2019