Hartlepool author makes best-of-the-year list with George Orwell on Screen book

Author David Ryan with a copy of his book George Orwell on Screen.
Author David Ryan with a copy of his book George Orwell on Screen.

An author from Hartlepool is celebrating after his first book made it on to a prestigious best-of-the-year list.

David Ryan’s non-fiction book George Orwell on Screen, published in America in September, won the accolade in the latest Times Literary Supplement (TLS).

Orwell wrote the cult hit book 1984 which was adapted for the screen.

Orwell wrote the cult hit book 1984 which was adapted for the screen.

Mr Ryan, a 50-year-old freelance journalist, chronicled every movie and TV show inspired by the British novelist, who wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm in the 1940s.

In the TLS, columnist DJ Taylor wrote: “Books about Orwell seem to fall from the presses at the rate of two or three a month.

“The one I enjoyed most was David Ryan’s George Orwell on Screen (McFarland), which punctiliously assembled every adaptation, documentary and ‘docudrama’ brought to film and television alongside a great deal of amusing commentary.”

Mr Ryan interviewed actors, writers, directors and producers about their stories of Orwell for his 255-page book.

The front cover of David Ryan's book

The front cover of David Ryan's book

It concentrates on 21 adaptations, documentaries and docudramas, dating back to 1953.

Mr Ryan said of the accolade: “I remember reading Animal Farm at Henry Smith School, King Oswy in the early 80s. It’s amazing to think it’s led to this.

“It’s always been my dream to write a book, but I never imagined I’d be feted by a posh publication like the Times Literary Supplement.

“I realised the other day that some of America’s top university libraries – Harvard, Yale, Stanford – have my book in stock.

“It’s good to know that students are reading it.

“It’s not going to make me rich, considering all the work I put into it, but the words ‘internationally published author’ look very nice on my CV.”

His research also took him to the Scottish island of Jura, where Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four in the 40s, with his son Richard and other members of the Orwell Society.

The Scottish writer and comedian Alison (AL) Kennedy provided the foreword for the book.