Tucked away at the back of a graveyard in an idyllic English village lies the body of Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name, George Orwell.
People from all around the world travel to the small Oxfordshire village of Sutton Courtenay to visit the resting place of the famous English writer. It’s not unusual to find laminated pages of his books left at the gravesite, along with letters and other gifts.
Some people stay just long enough to pay their respects, while others have turned their visit into a yearly event. The Orwell Society travels annually on the closest Sunday to the writer’s birthday (June 25, 1903). Since 2007, this handful of individuals has gathered to discuss Orwell’s writings and reflect on how many of the political and social themes play out today. If you happen to visit on that day, you will be welcomed to join an informal picnic called the “1984 Symposium,” named of course after one of Orwell’s most famous novels, 1984.
Orwell’s resting place at Sutton Courtenay’s All Saints’ parish churchyard was paid for by the late newspaper editor and longtime friend of Orwell’s, David Astor, honoring Orwell’s love of the English countryside. Astor lies in a grave adjacent to his mentor.
Know Before You Go
There are a couple of decent pubs in the village, including one conveniently next to the graveyard. There is parking outside and the closest train station is Appleford, a 30-minute walk. Didcot Parkway station is larger but is a one-hour walk or 17-minute bike ride away. There is more up to date information regarding the 1984 Symposium on Twitter here, as well as a video showing the location and even Orwell's son in attendance.