I have been very busy of late organising a trip to Terre Haute, Indiana, USA, for research on a biography I'm writing of Max Ehrmann, (author of the poem 'Desiderata'). However, I've also had in the works the above, my latest audiobook and this I'm also very excited about. I've been a big fan of George Orwell since my teenage years and have read around 20 biographies of him, so it has been a real privilege to work with one of the authors of one of the best biographies on him. This was one of the earlier biographies of Orwell, so naturally it does not benefit from later research. However, it remains, I think, one of the key biographies because of it's 'take' on Orwell. Essentially, it is the biography that really looked into the split identity of the man. Anyone who knows about Orwell will recognize that he struggled with the contrast between his privileged upbringing and class (going to Eton, being an Imperial Policeman in Burma etc.) and the suffering that other people, not of his class, endured. He almost felt he needed to pay a penance of some sort, certainly his going 'down and out' was no accident. He hid his motivations and the reality of this down and out period from his family and friends, and only by the time of his death had he really 'squared' who he was and what he wanted. Stansky and Abrahams, brilliantly track his transformation, from Eric Blair (his real name) to George Orwell. It's an intriguing book and well worth a listen or read. My audio version of it will be out next week sometime, whilst I am in America and if the biography I'm writing on Ehrmann ends up half as good as this one on Orwell, I will be very happy.