Late war reporter Marie Colvin listed for top UK writing prize

LONDON Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:28am EDT

A man holds an order of service after a memorial service for Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin, outside St Martin in the Field in London May 16, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

A man holds an order of service after a memorial service for Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin, outside St Martin in the Field in London May 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

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LONDON (Reuters) - Veteran American war correspondent Marie Colvin who was killed in Syria last year was nominated on Thursday for the Orwell Prize, a British literary award for political writing.

Colvin, a U.S. reporter for Britain's Sunday Times newspaper, was killed alongside French photographer Remi Ochlik as Syrian government forces attacked the town of Homs in February last year and rockets hit the house where they were staying.

"On the Front Line: The Collected Journalism of Marie Colvin" was published in April last year. The book ends with her final written dispatch from Homs.

Colvin's book was one of seven shortlisted from 210 nominations for the Orwell book prize that was set up 10 years ago to award work "that comes closest to George Orwell's ambition to make political writing into an art".

Prize director Jean Seaton said the judges started from Orwell's injunction: "My starting point is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice".

"That is what the judges hunted for and found, writing that was measured and calm not simply angry," Seaton said in a statement.

Colvin, 56, was one of 17 professional journalists and 44 citizen journalists killed in Syria last year, according to the Paris-based rights group Reporters Without Borders.

Also nominated for the prize that will be announced on May 15 was the "Occupation Diaries" by Palestinian lawyer and writer Raja Shehadeh who won the Orwell book prize in 2008.

British human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith was nominated for a second time, this time for his book "Injustice" about the death penalty in the United States.

The others shortlisted were Carmen Bugan with "Burying the Typewriter" about growing up in Nicolae Ceausescu's Romania, the former Bishop of Edinburgh Richard Holloway with "Leaving Alexandria", Pankaj Mishra with "From the Ruins of the Empire", and British law professor A.T. Williams with "A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa".

Six journalists were shortlisted from 155 nominations for the year's journalism prize.

They were Jamil Anderlini from the Financial Times, Tom Bergin from Reuters, Ian Cobain of the Guardian, Andrew Norfolk from The Times, Christina Patterson and Kim Sengupta from The Independent.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, editing by Paul Casciato)

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