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Biography of George Orwell

Photo of George Orwell

George Orwell was a twentieth century novelist writing under a pseudonym.

When and Where was he Born?

25th June 1903, Montihari, Bengal, India.

Family background:

Eric Arthur Blair, who used the pen name, George Orwell was the son of Richard Walmesley Blair a sub-deputy agent Opium Agent in the Indian Civil Service and Ida Mabel Blair (née Limouzin).


Sunnylands Church of England School, Eastbourne, Sussex. St. Cyprian’s Preparatory School, Eastbourne, Sussex. Eton College

Timeline of George Orwell:

1904: He is brought to England by his mother where the family live in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

1907: Orwell’s father has three month’s leave in England to see his family.

1908: Birth of his younger sister Avril Nora.

1911: He becomes a border at St Cyprian’s Preparatory School in Eastbourne, Sussex.

1912: His father retires from the Indian Civil Service and returns to England. The family move to Shiplake near Henley on Thames.

1914: George Orwell has his first work published, a poem called “Awake Young Men of England” in the Henley and South Oxfordshire Standard newspaper.

1915: The family move back to Henley on Thames.

1917: He spends the spring at Wellington College. He moves to Eton College on a King’s Scholarship.

1921: Orwell leaves Eton. His family moves to Southwold in Suffolk.

1922: He prepares for his India Office Examinations by cramming at Southwold between January and June. He moves to Burma to become Assistant Superintendent of Police with the Indian Imperial Police.

1928: He resigns his job as he is opposed to British Imperialism. He moves to Paris as a writer. He earns money by washing dishes. He contracts pneumonia in February.

1930: He lives in London and the South East living virtually as a tramp where he gets the idea for his novel “Down and Out in Paris and London”.

1932: He teaches at a small private school in Hayes, Middlesex called the Hawthorns.

1933: He takes on his pen name George Orwell for the first time to publish “Down and Out in Paris and London” with Victor Gollancz. He teaches at Frays College in Middlesex where he is taken to hospital with another bout of pneumonia.

1934: Orwell gives up his work as a teacher and lives in Southwold. The novel “Burmese Days” is published in America. He moves to Hampstead in London in the late autumn.

1935: He works as a shop assistant in a bookshop in Hampstead called “Booklovers Corner”. “Burmese Days” is published in Britain for the first time. He meets Eileen O’Shaughnessy for the first time.

1936: Victor Gollancz suggests he tours Lancashire and Yorkshire to study working class life. Later he sets up home in Wallington in Hertfordshire. He marries Eileen Maud O’Shaughnessey.

1937: He serves as a Corporal with the Partido Obrero de Unificacion Marxista detachment of the Aragon front. He is involved in street fighting between anarchists and government troops in Barcelona. He is discharged on medical grounds after being wounded in the throat. He escapes arrest after purges on the Republican forces. The road to Wigan Pier” is published by the Left Book Club and sells 40,000 copies.

1938: His novel “Homage to Catalonia” describes life in the civil war. He returns to Kent where he is treated for tuberculosis in a sanatorium. He travels to Morocco to try and improve his health.

1939: Orwell returns to England in March. His father dies.

1940: He moves to London where he supports himself as a journalist writing for “The Time and Tide” and the “Tribune”. He joins the Local Defence Volunteers which is later renamed the Home Guard.

1941: He joins the BBC in the Empire Department broadcasting to India and South east Asia. Death of his mother.

1943: He becomes the Literary Editor of the “Tribune”, a socialist newspaper and writes a weekly column called “As I Please.”

1944: Orwell and his wife adopt a one month old baby which they call Richard Horatio Blair.

1945: He becomes a war correspondent and travels to Paris and Cologne for the “Observer” newspaper. Eileen undergoes an operation and dies on the Operating theatre table. As a journalist he covers the first General Election campaign after the Second World War has ended. One of his most famous novels “Animal Farm”, a satire on the Russian Revolution is published in August.

1946: George Orwell moves to the Isle of Jura in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland.

1947: On Christmas Eve he is taken to Hairmyres Hospital, near Glasgow, suffering from tuberculosis of the left lung.

1948: He is well enough to return to Jura in July where he revises “Nineteen Eighty Four.”

1949: “Nineteen Eighty Four” is published and sells over 400,000 copies in its first year. Still suffering from ill health he moves to the Cotswolds Sanatorium in Cranham in Gloucestershire. He is moved to University College London in September and marries for the second time on 13th October. His bride, Sonia Brownell, an editorial assistant with Horizon magazine, is at his bedside. After his marriage he goes to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War.

When and Where did he Die?

21st January 1950, London, England of a hemorrhage in the lung.

Age at Death:


Written Works:

1914: “Awake Young Men of England (poem under his real name).
1933: “Down and Out in Paris and London”.
1934: “Burmese Days”.
1935: “A Clergyman’s Daughter”.
1936: “Keep the Aspidistra Flying”.
1937: “The Road to Wigan Pier”.
1938: “Homage to Catalonia”.
1939: “Coming Up for Air”.
1940: “Inside the Whale”.
1941: “The Lion and the Unicorn”. “Socialism and the English Genius”.
1945: “Animal Farm”.
1946: “Critical Essays.” “Politics and the English Language”.
1949: “Nineteen Eighty-Four”.
1950: “Shooting an Elephant”.
(1968): Collected Essays, Journals and Letters.


1. 1936 to Eileen Maud O’Shaughnessey. (Died 1945).
2. 1949 to Sonya Bronwell at his bedside at University College Hospital, London.

Site of Grave:

All Saint’s Churchyard, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England.

Places of Interest:




The Isle of Jura.