by Douglas Grudzina
The National Council of Teachers of English is currently seeking nominations for two of its most … uh … prestigious awards. (Well, one might be sought-after, but the other…not so much.)
The George Orwell Award, in keeping with the social philosophy of the author of Animal Farm and 1984, is an actual honor. The recipient is “an author, editor, or producer of a print or nonprint work that contributes to honesty and clarity in public language.”
Recent recipients include: Charlie Savage (2008), Pulitzer-Prize-winning Boston Globe reporter and author of The Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy; Ted Grup (2007), author of Nation of Secrets: The Threat to Democracy and the American Way of Life, an examination of the “culture of secrecy” within the G.W. Bush White House; and Steven H. Miles, M.D. (2006), author of Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror.
For a PDF list of all winners from the award’s inception in 1975, click here.
The Double-Speak Award, sort of an anti-honor, named for Big Brother’s abuses of language in Orwell’s 1984, goes to “a glaring example of deceptive language by a[n American] public spokesperson.”
Recent recipients include George W. Bush, Alberto Gonzalez, and The New York State Regents. For a complete PDF listing of past recipients, click here.
The deadline for nominations for both awards is September 15, 2009. Winners and runners-up are announced during the NCTE National Convention, this year in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 20 – 24. (And just as a side note, Prestwick House will, of course, be in attendance).
For full information and nomination instructions for the Orwell Award, click here and for the Doublespeak Award, click here.
So, good luck, and may the best (or worst) communicator win!