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Orwell Day

Reading Orwell Today

On Freedom and the Right to Tell People What They Don’t Want to Hear

Debate

Free

How relevant is George Orwell’s legacy? Many Orwellian concepts still resound forcefully around the world today, for example his defence of freedom of expression and opposition to censorship. On this fourth celebration of Orwell Day at the CCCB, Miquel Berga, lecturer in English Literature at the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), will speak about the posthumous victories of the author of Homage to Catalonia. Also participating will be the actor Marc Martínez, who will read fragments of Orwell’s work.

Orwell’s experiences in Barcelona constituted a decisive turning point in his literary project and his political views. It was here that he joined the POUM militia and then went to fight on the Aragon front. After being shot and seriously wounded by a Fascist sniper and, pursued by Stalinists, he had to flee Spain but his ideals and opposition to the perverse mechanisms of totalitarianism were stronger than ever. The author of 1984 built up a body of work which, with time, has turned out to be innovative in such diverse fields as cultural studies, postcolonial literature, journalistic reporting, autobiographical writing and political satire. His vigorous denunciation of war and mechanisms of surveillance and censorship are totally valid today. Indeed, after the many battles he fought —real and on paper—his posthumous victories have been recognised by many people. How relevant is George Orwell’s work now? Which of his predictions have been confirmed and what was he wrong about?

Miquel Berga is a lecturer in English Literature in the Faculty of Humanities at the Pompeu Fabra University, and vice-president of Catalan PEN Centre.

Several fragments from Orwell’s work will be read by the actor Marc Martínez, who appeared in Ken Loach’s 1995 film Land and Freedom, which is a free adaptation of Homage to Catalonia.

The debate is one of the events programmed for the annual celebration of Orwell Day and will coincide, at the same time and on the same day, with a series of activities concerning freedom of expression organised by The European Network of Houses for Debate "Time to Talk" (TTT), a pan-European group of institutions, of which the CCCB is a member. TTT organises periodic debates on the present-day state of the basic values on which the European Union is based, and which determine its future.

As on previous #DiaOrwell celebrations a series of literary routes through Orwell’s Barcelona will be offered free of charge. Inscriptions here.

Participants: Miquel Berga, Marc Martínez

This activity is part of Orwell Day

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Miquel Berga and Marc Martínez: "Reading Orwell nowadays"

On Freedom and the Right to Tell People What They Don’t Want to Hear

How relevant is George Orwell’s legacy? Many Orwellian concepts still resound forcefully around the world today, for example his defence of freedom of expression and opposition to censorship. On this fourth celebration of Orwell's Day at the CCCB, Miquel Berga, lecturer in English Literature at the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), speaks about the posthumous victories of the author of Homage to Catalonia.

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