A week of celebrations are taking place in Wigan to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of George Orwell’s “The Road to Wigan Pier.”

George Orwell’s landmark journalistic masterpiece on the plight of the working class in 1930’s England was released on 8th March 1937, and to commemorate its publication Wigan Council have teamed up with the Orwell Society to host a number of events and activities throughout the town.

Guest speakers from all around the world are scheduled to perform during the week, including the son of George Orwell himself, Richard Blair, who will be listening to school children recite their own poems influenced by his father’s work.

Wigan Pier
‘The Road To Wigan Pier’ was one of George Orwell’s first landmark political works. Image courtesy of Wigan Council

Councillor David Molyneux of Wigan Council said that there had been a lot of interest both locally and nationally in celebrating the anniversary and that several generations had been inspired by Orwell’s work.

Councillor Molyneux said: “We are proud to help mark the anniversary of publication of The Road to Wigan Pier.

“We are very much a modern town now with new growth industries and we are forging ahead with a new future for Wigan Pier.

“But at the same time we are proud of our industrial past and Orwell is very much part of that story.

Quentin Kopp, Events Organiser at the Orwell Society said: “The book has traditionally had a mixed reaction in the town, and part of our objective is to get people who have a negative view on it to see it in a different light.

“The book is clearly not a negative depiction of Wigan and its people but it has been accepted by many as such.

“We hope the events this week help to change any negative perceptions in Wigan of Orwell, who was deeply influenced by what he learned while he was in Wigan.”

Kopp also said they plan to donate all proceedings from the week’s events to the Sunshine House Community Hub, to allow them to continue their great work in the community and to “help them carry on making people’s lives just a little bit better”.

Talks and events start on Friday 10th March and continue throughout the weekend.

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