I’ve just returned from an enjoyable two days in London, where the Orwell Prize for blogs was awarded to the excellent ‘Night Jack’ site. Jack Night is a police detective from the north of England, which provides him with a unique and insightful perspective from which to write about criminal justice. Like the ‘North Antrim Interest List’, that eventually topped a previous shortlist including ‘Three Thousand Versts’, ‘Night Jack’ shows mastery of a particular subject, rather than ranging widely across a great many topics. A lesson which I would endeavour to learn, were I not writing primarily for my own pleasure!
My girlfriend and I were pleased to be seated next to Jack Night’s police colleague and representative at the dinner (the pseudonymous author did not feel able to pick up the prize in person). He was a charming and grounded detective whose insight into the Historical Enquiries Team was particularly fascinating. Indeed our conversation formed a neat counterpoint to the entertaining, but rather bombastic discourse, which was animating Peter Oborne, across the table.
We were fortunate enough, during the evening, to meet fellow beaten competitors, Iain Dale and Alix Mortimer (whose well written and humorous Lib Dem blog is well worth bookmarking). Guardian columnist Ian Jack was also especially kind about my writing and indeed his warm description of the blog during the ceremony formed one of the highlights of my night. I’m grateful for the encouragement which he made a point of offering me afterwards.
A wonderful evening then, despite the result (as it were).