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Political Science Communism & Socialism

Orwell in Cuba

How 1984 Came to Be Published in Castro’s Twilight

by (author) Frédérick Lavoie

translated by Donald Winkler

Initial publish date
Mar 2021
Communism & Socialism, Human Rights, Cuba, Caribbean & Latin American, Propaganda
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2021
    List Price
    $19.95 USD

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“Orwell in Cuba: How ‘1984’ Came to Be Published in Castro’s Twilight” is a personal account of contemporary Cuba at a pivotal point in its history, with the Castro brothers passing power on to a new generation. We discover Cuba through the adventures, inquiries, and encounters of a Canadian journalist and writer trying to make sense of the current climate in Cuba and of how Cubans feel about the past, present, and future of their island. “Orwell in Cuba” is also akin to a detective story, as the author investigates how and why a state-run publishing house came to release a new translation of George Orwell’s iconic anti-totalitarian novel “Nineteen-Eighty-Four,” formerly taboo, in the year 2016. These two quests are intertwined in the book, giving the reader an unusual experience: that of following a suspenseful trail while at the same time becoming increasingly familiar with the Cuban people’s relationship to the regime, and absorbing a wealth of information as to how they succeed in coping with the island’s often challenging living conditions.

About the authors

Frederick Lavoie is a freelance foreign correspondent born in 1983 in Chicoutimi, Canada. He has been working for numerous media in Canada, France, Belgium and Switzerland. He was previously based in Moscow (2008-2012), Mumbai (2012-2014) and Chicago (2014-2016). He is also the author of Allers simples: aventures journalistiques en Post-Soviétie (2012), recounting his years of reporting and travels in Russia and other former republics of the Soviet Union, and Avant l’après: voyages à Cuba avec George Orwell (2018), in which he explores nowadays Cuba and investigates the circumstances of the release of Orwell’s classic Nineteen Eighty-Four in communist Cuba. His critically acclaimed Ukraine à fragmentation (2015), the French edition of For Want of a Fir Tree, was shortlisted for the Prix des Libraires 2017. He currently divides his time between Montreal and Mumbai.

Frédérick Lavoie's profile page

Donald Winkler was born in Winnipeg, graduated from the University of Manitoba, and did graduate study at the Yale School of Drama. From 1967 to 1995 he was a film director and writer at the National Film Board of Canada in Montreal, and since the 1980s, a translator of Quebec literature. In 1994, 2011, and 2013 he won the Governor General Award for French to English translation, and has been a finalist for the prize on three other occasions. His translation of Samuel Archibald's short story collection, "Arvida," was a finalist for the 2015 Giller Prize. He lives in Montreal, Quebec.

Donald Winkler's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Orwell in Cuba is nuanced and compelling."

Other titles by Frédérick Lavoie

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