FAMOUS author George Orwell will be celebrated at an annual festival which launches tonight (Thursday).

The George Orwell Festival starts with a debate at the Spirella Ballroom in Letchworth GC hosted by the Orwell Prize.

The four-strong panel includes Stephen Armstrong, author of Road to Wigan Pier Revisted, who will debate Poverty Then and Now: Orwell and His Successors from 7.30pm.

Orwell penned The Road To Wigan Pier 75 years ago and to mark the anniversary, a 1937 copy will be auctioned and filmed as part of a BBC Flog It! TV programme.

Now in its second year, the festival will also explore the man behind the pseudonym, with Dr Keith Armstrong discussing Eric Blair’s relationship with fellow writer Jack Common.

The talk will be held at David’s Bookshop in Letchworth GC at 7.30pm on Saturday.

Earlier in the day at 1pm there will be a Homage to Barcelona lunch with giant paella, tapas dishes and Spanish music at La Concha Wine Bar in Station Place, paying tribute to Orwell’s time in the Catalan capital.

The festival concludes on Sunday with a guided walk around Wallington, where the author, prolific essayist and journalist lived between 1936-47.

The tour of the village will include Manor Farm, the inspiration behind Orwell’s Animal Farm.

For full details about the festival or to book tickets visit www.georgeorwellfestival.org