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.