Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


The Orwell Lecture: How to Predict an Election

18 February 2020, 6:45 pm–8:00 pm


Daniel Finkelstein discusses How To Predict An Election in the Orwell Lecture at UCL, as part of a day of Orwell-inspired events.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







The Orwell Foundation


LT 1, Cruciform Building, UCL
Gower Street, UCL
United Kingdom

Daniel Finkelstein, who has been on the intimate inside of politics, working in Number 10 as well as in the Lords, but also on the outside as a thoughtful commentator, will talk about the way elections are predicted and strategised. Of course, by the time of the Lecture - we may - or may not be in an election.

Daniel Finkelstein, OBE, is the Associate Editor, a Columnist and Leader Writer for The Times. He also sits in the House of Lords as Lord Finkelstein. As well as his weekly political column in the comment section and his Saturday Notebook, he writes the “Fink Tank” for the Saturday paper, a statistical column on football.

Between 1997 and 2001, he was chief policy adviser to the Leader of the Opposition Rt. Hon. William Hague MP and Secretary to the Shadow Cabinet. In 2001, he was Conservative parliamentary candidate in Harrow West. Between 1995 and 1997, he was Director of the Conservative Research Department in which capacity he advised Prime Minister John Major and attended meetings of the Cabinet when it sat in political session.

The Orwell Lecture, given in memory of the author, essayist and journalist George Orwell, has been given annually since 1989 and has attracted notable speakers including Dr Rowan Williams, Dame Hilary Mantel, Robin Cook and Ruth Davidson MSP. Speakers are tasked with discussing any topic 'Orwell might have been interested in'.

This year's lecture will be accompanied by a day of Orwell-inspired activities, including an exclusive event with the Orwell Archive celebrating George Orwell and Sonia Brownell, and an Orwell Youth Prize writing workshop in partnership with the Wiener Library, world's oldest Holocaust archive. At the workshop, lower sixth students from local schools will use archival material to explore elections, language and democracy both in Germany between 1929-1935 and today.

Originally held at the University of London, Birkbeck and the the University of Sheffield, the Orwell Memorial Lecture now takes place each year at University College London, home of the UNESCO-registered Orwell Archive, the most comprehensive body of research material relating to the author's life anywhere. The Orwell Foundation is based at UCL's Institute of Advanced Studies.

The Orwell Memorial Lecture is generously sponsored by Richard Blair, George Orwell’s son.