George Orwell (whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair) was born in India in 1903, and was educated in Eton. From 1922 to 1928 he served in Burma in the Indian Imperial Police. For the next two years he lived in Paris and then came to England as a school-teacher. Later he worked in a bookshop. In 1937 he went to Spain to fight for the Republicans and was wounded. During the Second World War he was a member of the Home Guard and worked for the BBC. In 1943 he joined the staff of Tribune, contributing a regular page of political and literary commentary, As I Please. He later became a regular contributor to the Observer for which newspaper he went as a special correspondent to France and Germany. He died in London in 1950.
His publications include Down and Out in Paris and London, Burmese Days, The Road to Wigan Pier, Coming Up for Air, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Homage to Catalonia and Inside the Whale. Orwell's name became widely known with the publication, in 1945, of Animal Farm, which has sold more than two million copies. Nineteen Eighty-Four had a similar success, and aroused extraordinary interest as a film and on television. His Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters are now available in four volumes in Penguin Books.