George Orwell’s forgotten wife

HistoryExtra podcast

George Orwell – the author of classics like 1984 – is a household name. But have you heard of his first wife, Eileen O’Shaughnessy, who convinced her husband to write the political fable which evolved into Animal Farm? Despite being vital in Orwell’s career, she has been omitted from the historical narrative by both her husband and his biographers since. Speaking to Lauren Good, Anna Funder reveals O’Shaughnessy’s hidden life – and considers how women through the past have facilitated the success of their husbands from the shadows.

(Ad) Anna Funder is the author of Wifedom: Mrs Orwell’s Invisible Life (Viking, 2023). Buy it now from Amazon:

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