Author. He is best remembered for his novels "Animal Farm" (1945) and "1984" (1949). Both books are strong condemnations of Communism and Totalitarianism forms of government. George Orwell is his nom de plume (pen name). Born Eric Arthur Blair in Motihari, British India, where his father worked in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service, he was the son of Richard Walmesley Blair and Ida Mabel Limouzin Blair. In 1905, his mother moved to England and settled at Henley-on-Thames, with his father still in India; he did not see his father until 1912. Before 1914, the family moved to Shiplake, England, where his interest in writing poetry was first expressed. His early hobbies were shooting, fishing, and bird watching. His mother wanted him to attend a private school, but being middle-class, they did not have the income to afford the fees, and young Eric finally obtained a scholarship to St. Cyprian's School. Blair would consider his school life as unhappy, which he expressed in his book, "Such, Such Were the Joys" (1946). However, he excelled in history, and wrote two poems that were published in the local newspaper. He entered Eton College, where he became a King's Scholar and helped produce a college magazine. In 1921, he passed the entrance exam to join the Indian Imperial Police, but was posted to Burma. After contracting Dengue Fever in 1927, he took sick leave in England, and, while on leave, decided to resign from the Indian Imperial Police with the intentions of becoming a writer. His Burma Police experience resulted in his second novel, "Burmese Days" (1934). Following the example of author Jack London of living among the working people, he began to explore the poorer sections of London, and later Paris, living the typical life of a poor person and recording his experiences. This resulted in his first book, "Down and Out in Paris and London" (1933). He returned to England and lived with his parents in Southwold for the next five years, supplementing his living by teaching at the Hawthorne High School for Boys in West London. It was here, in 1933, that he adopted his nom de plume, George Orwell, choosing it as a "good English name." His 1937 novel, "The Road to Wigan Pier," is a social commentary on life in the economically-hard-hit northern England, and it was here that he experienced his first understanding of Communism and Fascism as a political entity. Both ideologies had gained adherents during the prolonged Great Depression. Shortly after his marriage to Eileen O'Shaughnessy on June 9, 1936, he set out for Spain to fight in the Republican Army against the Fascist Army of General Francisco Franco. With his prior Indian Police background, he was quickly promoted to Corporal in the Partido Obrero de Unification Marxista (POUM - Worker's Party of Marxist Unification), one of several Communist military factions supplied mostly by the Soviet Union. After a sniper wounded him in the throat, he was discharged as unfit for further duty, and he returned to England, thoroughly disenchanted with Communism as a political entity. His experiences in the Spanish Civil War resulted in the novel, "Homage to Catalonia" (1938). His friends secretly funded a trip to French Morocco to help Orwell recover his health, and this resulted in the novel, "Coming Up for Air" (1939). When World War II broke out in September 1939, he volunteered for military service, but was declared unfit for active military service due to his war wound. However, he was able to join the "Home Guard" which gave him time to write reviews for various London periodicals. Later in the war, he would work for BBC Radio, writing for Indian broadcasts to counter the Nazi German radio propaganda intended to disrupt British-Indian ties. It was in this period that he wrote "Animal Farm," but it would not be published until 1945, shortly after his wife's death from a poorly-performed operation for a hysterectomy. Due to the popular reception of "Animal Farm," Orwell was quick to find work with a number of newspapers, and enjoyed journalistic success. In December 1947, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and spent several months in a sanatorium. He used this time to finish his next novel, "1984," which was published in June 1949 to immediate popular acclaim. In October 1949, he married Sonia Brownell, but he was in poor physical health. In January 1950, an artery burst in his lungs, killing him at the age of 46. Orwell was buried in the graveyard of All Saint's Churchyard in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire.
Bio by: Jelena