26 Jan 2017

Orwell's '1984' back as bestseller amid 'alternative facts'

10:15 am on 26 January 2017

George Orwell's 1984 - a novel about a dystopian future under an authoritarian regime - is back as a bestseller as readers grapple with new US President Donald Trump's "alternative facts."

A copy of George Orwell's novel '1984' is displayed at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, California.

A copy of George Orwell's novel '1984' is displayed at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, California. Photo: AFP

The book, first published in 1949, features a devious "Big Brother" government that spies on its citizens and forces them into "doublethink," or simultaneously accepting contradictory versions of the truth.

George Orwell

George Orwell Photo: WikiCommons

Sales spiked after a senior White House official, Kellyanne Conway, used the term "alternative facts" during a discussion about the size of the crowd at Trump's inauguration.

Some commentators denounced her expression as "Orwellian."

By Monday, the novel by the late British author hit Amazon's list of top 10 bestsellers, which is updated hourly. On Wednesday, it was number one.

Responding to the renewed interest, its publisher ordered a 75,000-copy reprint this week, Signet Classics said in a statement. A company spokesman told CNN that was more than would normally be reprinted.

The West Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has vowed to "resist" the president's policies on immigration and other issues, said on Twitter it picked 1984 as the read of the month for its book club.

Top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway

Kellyanne Conway, a Trump aide who has been criticised for using the term "alternative facts" Photo: AFP

Conway was responding to accusations that the Trump administration was fixated on the size of his inauguration crowds, saying: "We feel compelled to go out and clear the air and put alternative facts out there."

Amid widespread criticism of the expression, even Merriam-Webster chimed in to challenge Trump's former campaign manager. "A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality," the dictionary publisher tweeted.

- Reuters

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