A Public Reading of George Orwell’s 1984

Image showing graffitti reading "2+2=5"

What: A complete read-through of Orwell’s 1984
When: Monday April 3, beginning at 9 a.m.
Where: The Berlin Wall


George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, paints a picture of a society in the midst of perpetual war, where critical thought is suppressed under a surveillance state that rules by means including propaganda, censorship, and the deliberate distortion of language to obscure meaning. In early 2017, talk of “alternative facts” and “fake news” led to a resurgence in the popularity of the 1948 political satire—it re-appeared on the bestseller list, 68 years after it was first published, and sales of the novel increased almost 10,000 percent in a short time in January.

As a library, we advocate for access to information and intellectual freedom for all. We value democracy, equity, diversity and inclusion. We are inviting the community to read 1984 to call attention to the current and ongoing battle to ensure that information is free and accessible to all. We are pro-journalism, pro-data, pro-research, and pro-debate. As an institution that collects, preserves, and offers access to information, we support the free dissemination of information in all forms. 1984 has always spoken to libraries and librarians for this reason. We hope that Orwell’s words will remind us all that the fight for freedom of information is ongoing.

The reading will take place at the Berlin Wall “Kings of Freedom” art installation outside of Alderman Library, and is organized by the Library and co-sponsored by UVA Arts, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, and the UVA Bookstores.

On the following day, April 4th, art house movie theaters across the country and internationally, including Charlottesville’s Violet Crown, will be screening the 80s movie “1984,” starring John Hurt and Richard Burton.


For more information, contact Todd Burks, Library Instructor, at tcb2e@virginia.edu