George Orwell was the pen name of
Eric Arthur Blair, who was born in India in 1903. He moved to England with his
family in 1907 and, after a few years, found himself at a Sussex boarding
school where he became well known for his academic brilliance. His intellectual
abilities won him scholarships to two leading British schools, one of which-
Eton- he attended between 1917 and 1921. He began writing for various college
magazines, and so it was here that he had his first taste of being a published
author.

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He decided against going to
University, and instead followed a family tradition, joining the Indian Imperial
Police Force in Burma in 1922. He worked in a number of country police
stations, and could have progressed in his career, yet he wanted to follow his
ambition to become a writer. What’s more, Orwell grew to hate the colonialism
he was a part of – in other words, the British taking over, ruling and
exploiting India. You may know the song ‘Rule Britannia’, written during this
period of history, which hails Britain as ‘ruler of the waves’. It was just
these sort of imperialist ideas which Orwell disliked, and so in1927 he
resigned  from the Police and returned to
England.

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Having spent a short time back in
England, by 1928 Orwell was ready to move on again. He went to Paris with the
intention of writing full time, but he was forced to take on a number of
low-paid jobs, such as dish-washing,  in
order to make ends meet. He write about his experiences of poverty in his first
book, Down and Out in Paris and London which
was published in 1933, the year he adopted his pen name. In 1934 he was
published again; this time it was a novel which was based on his time in India,
called Burmese Days which was a harsh
portrayal of British Colonialism.

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 Orwell had a number of books published in the
1930s, and during this time he became increasingly interested in politics. In
1937 he wrote his first book called The
Road to Wigan Pier which recounted his experience of living amongst
impoverished miners in Northern England. By the time this book was being
published, Orwell had moved to Spain to report on the Spanish Civil War. There
he joined a Republican militia group to fight against General Francisco Franco
and was badly injured, being shot in the arm and the throat. He was forced to
leave when he realised that his life was in danger from Soviet-backed
communists-an experience which left him firmly in an anti-Stalinist camp.

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By the time World War Two arrived,
Orwell had got a job working for the BBC producing news and programmes for an
Indian audience. However, he was uncomfortable with being a part of Britain’s
war propaganda machine and so in 1943, he left the BBC and became editor of a
left-wing, socialist magazine called The
Tribune. At this time he was very well known as a journalist, yet he also
continued to write books. It was in 1945, with the publication of Animal Farm, that Orwell became truly
famous. His other very well-known novel, 1984,
was published in 1949 when Orwell was in increasingly poor health and a year
later he died of tuberculosis.