“I was very greatly impressed by Garrett,” George Orwell wrote in his 1936 diary following their meeting when George Garrett, merchant seaman, writer and founder member of Liverpool’s Unity Theatre showed Orwell around Liverpool when he was researching his seminal book on Poverty, The Road to Wigan Pier. Over 80 years later we bring together Orwell’s son Richard Blair and Garrett’s Grandson Sean Garrett with Daily Mirror Senior Features writer Ros Wynne-Jones, who has been leading The Wigan Pier project, retracing Orwell’s route telling the stories of Austerity Britain today.
Sean Garrett works in a homeless shelter where he sees modern-day poverty in Liverpool close-up, a sharp reminder that the issues highlighted by his grandfather and George Orwell are just as endemic today. He has been a part of the George Garrett Archive Project, launched in 2012 to protect, preserve and disseminate knowledge of George Garrett’s life and work. www.georgegarrettarchive.co.uk
Richard Blair was just three weeks old when he was adopted by George Orwell and his first wife, Eileen. Nine months later Eileen died during an operation, and Richard was brought up by Orwell, and looked after by a nanny and then Orwell’s younger sister, Avril, while Orwell was writing his dystopian masterpiece, 1984, on the remote Scottish Island of Jura. Now a retired engineer, Richard is Trustee of the Orwell Foundation’s awards and the Orwell Youth Prize, which is dedicated to the understanding and appreciation of the life and work of George Orwell, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.
Ros Wynne-Jones is an award-winning journalist renowned for her campaigning articles exposing injustice and arguing for change. Ros is the Daily Mirror's Senior Feature Writer, responsible for the writes the Real Britain column every Friday in the Daily Mirror campaigning against government cuts and standing up for ordinary people. Ros is an award-winning journalist who has worked in conflict zones around the world from South Sudan to East Timor, Kosovo to Rwanda.