George Orwell Statistics

  • George Orwell is estimated to have sold in excess of 41 million copies from just two novels, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm.
  • Recent figures suggest that Orwell’s most successful novel, 1984, has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.
  • His second-most recognized work, Animal Farm, sold 250,000 copies when it was published in 1945.
  • Latest figures suggest Animal Farm has now sold over 11 million copies worldwide.
  • The most successful film adaptation of Orwell’s 1984 (which was also released in 1984) grossed $8.43 million worldwide.
  • George Orwell spent a large period of his life as a writer-for-hire, earning a sum of £3 (around $12.50) a week for articles, essays and novels.
  • In 1946, Orwell estimated that the best possible income for a writer at the time was around £1,000 ($4,000) per year.
  • When Nineteen Eighty-Four was chosen for a Book-of-the-Month Club Deal, his publisher estimated it would earn Orwell £40,000 (around $147,500).
  • However, he passed away in 1950 at 46 years of age as he was still living in relative poverty, just prior to becoming rich and famous through the deal.
  • In the UK, the Orwell Prize was created in 1993 to meet Orwell’s ambition of making “political writing into an art”.
  • As of 2023, each award winner is given £3,000 (around $2,400) as a prize.

How many books has George Orwell written?

  • In total, George Orwell authored 9 books. 
  • Six of these were novels.
  • Three of these were nonfiction titles.
  • His books were published between the years of 1933 and 1949.
  • During the period, Orwell averaged a book release every 1.89 years.
  • In addition to books, George Orwell also created a number of other works, including:
    • 556 articles.
    • 18 poems.
    • 7 pamphlets. 
    • 5 journals.
    • 5 letters.
    • 4 scripts.
    • 1 play.

George Orwell books in order

Date publishedBook titleBook typeOriginal publisherPage countAudiobook length
Jan 1933Down and Out in Paris and LondonNonfictionVictor Gollancz Ltd2246h 33m
Oct 1934Burmese DaysFictionHarper & Brothers30010h 17m
Mar 1935A Clergyman’s DaughterFictionVictor Gollancz Ltd‎33610h 3m
Apr 1936Keep the Aspidistra FlyingFictionVictor Gollancz Ltd2889h 1m
Feb 1937The Road to Wigan PierNonfictionLeft Book Club1467h 43m
Apr 1938Homage to CataloniaNonfictionSecker and Warburg2328h 25m
Jun 1939Coming Up for AirFictionVictor Gollancz Ltd2888h 24m
Aug 1945Animal FarmFictionSecker and Warburg1123h 11m
Jun 1949Nineteen Eighty-FourFictionSecker and Warburg32811h 22m

George Orwell FAQ

Why did George Orwell change his name?

  • Born Eric Arthur Blair, he opted to publish his writings using the name George Orwell.
  • He did this in order to create a greater distinction between his personal and professional life.
  • The first name chosen, “George”, was inspired by England’s patron saint.
  • The second name chosen, “Orwell”, was named after a river in East Anglia, England.

What did George Orwell predominantly write about?

  • In general, George Orwell looked to write about social and political issues.
  • He focused heavily on themes such as totalitarianism, abuse of power, oppression, surveillance, propaganda and human rights.
  • On the whole, many of his writings act as warnings towards the impacts of authoritarian and dystopian societies.

Why did George Orwell write 1984?

  • 1984 was written by George Orwell to highlight the dangers of totalitarianism and the erosion of personal freedoms.
  • The book depicts a dystopian society, where unchecked state power rules at a great detriment to the lives of citizens.
  • It is his most successful novel and demonstrates the importance of maintaining democratic values.

Why did George Orwell write Animal Farm?

  • Animal Farm was written by George Orwell to act as an allegory critiquing the events of the Russian Revolution.
  • Satirical in nature, it exposes the hypocrisy and corruption that can result from revolutions.
  • It is seen as his second-most successful novel and highlights the dangers of authoritarianism.

What happened to George Orwell’s estate?

  • After George Orwell passed away in 1950, it was initially believed that his widow, Sonia, had spent most of his income.
  • Later it was found that she had largely lived modestly throughout her lifetime, before passing away with few possessions.
  • After the death of George Orwell, she initially received a widow’s pension of £40 per month, which rose to £750 in the 1970s.
  • Having never received her share of assets from George Orwell Productions (which controlled the estate), she initiated a lawsuit against the company’s accountant.
  • She won an out-of-court settlement, before deciding to leave the copyrights to Richard Blair, Orwell’s adopted son.