'Independent' writers are honoured in George Orwell awards

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The Independent Online

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, The Independent columnist, has won the George Orwell Prize for a journalist judged to have made political writing into an art.

Ms Alibhai-Brown, who writes extensively on a range of issues – but notably Asian affairs – received the award at a ceremony in London last night, where Rupert Cornwell, The Independent's Washington correspondent, was also commended. Peter Hennessy, the history professor and a member of the judges' panel, said: "We had a very rich field this year, several of whom dealt with the word and the world in a fashion that we think would have satisfied Orwell the critic, Orwell the stylist and, sometimes, Orwell the polemicist. Yasmin's columns on politics and justice, and Islam and society, brought light where there was heat in a sustained and often truly brave fashion."

Cornwell was recognised for his reporting on the attacks of 11 September. Professor Hennessy said: "Rupert Cornwell brought width, depth, analysis and a clean, clear writing style to the events of 11 September and its aftermath in both his reportage and features."

The judging panel was chaired by Sir Bernard Crick, Orwell's biographer.

Ms Alibhai-Brown has previously been shortlisted for the George Orwell Prize. Previous winners from The Independent include Robert Fisk, the Middle East correspondent, David McKittrick, the Ireland correspondent, and the columnist David Aaronovitch.

Simon Kelner, the editor in chief of The Independent, said: "We are delighted to have won this award, which underlines our commitment to political journalism. Yasmin's unique and perceptive columns are in the best traditions of the George Orwell prize."