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Orwell Estate Approves 1984 ‘Feminist’ Retelling

By December 10, 2021New Releases, News

A retelling of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, which focusses on Winston Smith’s lover Julia, has been approved by the estate of George Orwell.

In the original novel, Winston Smith has a forbidden affair with Julia, who works in the Fiction Dept, until they are captured and sent to be re-educated.

Julia by Sandra Newman portrays the events depicted in Nineteen Eighty-Four through the eyes of the woman.

“It was the man from Records who began it, him all unknowing in his prim, grim way, his above-it-all oldthink way. He was the one Syme called ‘Old Misery’,” writes Newman. “Comrade Smith was his right name, though ‘Comrade’ never suited him somehow. Of course, if you felt foolish calling someone ‘Comrade’, far better not to speak to them at all.”

Sandra Newman

“[Julia] has known no other world and, until she meets Winston, never imagined one. She’s opportunistic, believing in nothing and caring not at all about politics. She routinely breaks the rules but also collaborates with the regime whenever necessary. She’s an ideal citizen of Oceania,” said publishers Granta. “But when one day, finding herself walking toward Winston Smith in a long corridor, she impulsively hands him a note – a potentially suicidal gesture – she comes to realise that she’s losing her grip and can no longer safely navigate her world.”

According to the estate of George Orwell they had been “looking for some time” for a retelling of the story through the eyes of Smith’s lover, and that Newman “proved to be the perfect fit”.

“Richard Blair, Orwell’s son, has been consulted and approves of the project,” they added.

“Two of the unanswered questions in Orwell’s novel are what Julia sees in Winston, and how she has navigated her way through the party hierarchy. Sandra gets under the skin of Big Brother’s world in a completely convincing way which is both true to the original but also gives a dramatically different narrative to stand alongside the original,” said Bill Hamilton, the literary executor of the Orwell estate.

“The millions of readers who have been brought up with Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four will find this a provocative and satisfying companion.”

Julia is due for release in 2023/24.

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