Excerpts from Orwell's letters to his agent Leonard Moore concerning Animal Farm
by George Orwell
1944


To Leonard Moore
9 January 1944

Dear Mr Moore,

… I am overwhelmed with work. I am getting on with my book [Animal Farm] and unless I get ill or something hope to finish it by the end of March. After that I have contracted to do one for the "Britain in Pictures" series, but that shouldn't take long.

This thing I am doing now will be very short, about 20,000 to 25,000 words. It is a fairy story but also a political allegory and I think we may have some difficulties about finding a publisher. It won't be any use trying it on Gollancz nor probably Warburg, but it might be worth dropping a hint elsewhere that I have a book coming along. I suppose you know which publishers have paper and which haven't?

Yours sincerely Eric Blair



To Leonard Moore
19 March 1944

Dear Mr Moore,

I have finished my book [Animal Farm] and will be sending you the MS in a few days' time. It is being typed now. I make it about 30,000 words. To avoid wasting time I think we ought to decide in advance what to do about showing it to Gollancz. According to our contract he has the first refusal of my fiction books, and this would come under the heading of fiction, as it is a sort of fairy story, really a fable with a political meaning. I think, however, Gollancz wouldn't publish it, as it is strongly anti-Stalin in tendency. Nor is it any use wasting time on Warburg, who probably wouldn't touch anything of this tendency and to my knowledge is very short of paper. I suggest therefore that we ought to tell Gollancz but let him know that the book is not likely to suit him, and say that we will only send it along if he very definitely wants to see it. I am going to write to him in this sense now. The point is that if Gollancz and his readers get hold of it, even if they end by not taking it, they will probably hang onto the MS for weeks. So I will write to him, and then he will know about it before you get the MS.

As to what publisher to approach, I think Nicholson and Watson might be the best. I told one of their men I had a book coming along and he seemed anxious to get hold of it. Or else Hutchinson, where I have a contact in Robert Neumann. Or anyone else who (a) has got some paper and (b) isn't in the arms of Stalin. The latter is important. This book is murder from the Communist point of view, though no names are mentioned. Provided we can get over these difficulties I fancy the book should find a publisher, judging by the stuff they do print nowadays.

I am going to send two copies. I think we might have a try at an American publication as well …

Yours sincerely Eric Blair





To Victor Gollancz [Orwell's publisher]
19 March 1944

Dear Mr Gollancz,

I have just finished a book [Animal Farm] and the typing will be completed in a few days. You have the first refusal of my fiction books, and I think this comes under the heading of fiction. It is a little fairy story, about 30,000 words, with a political meaning. But I must tell you that it is—I think—completely unacceptable politically from your point of view (it is anti-Stalin). I don't know whether in that case you will want to see it. If you do, of course I will send it along, but the point is that I am not anxious, naturally, for the MS to be hanging about too long. If you think that you would like to have a look at it, in spite of its not being politically O.K., could you let either me or my agent (Christy & Moore) know? Moore will have the MS. Otherwise, could you let me know that you don't want to see it, so that I can take it elsewhere without wasting time?

Yours sincerely
[Signed] Eric Blair



To Leonard Moore
29 August 1944

Dear Mr Moore,

I have just seen Warburg. He has definitely arranged to publish "Animal Farm" about March 1945, so perhaps you can get in touch with him about the contract. He is willing to pay an advance of £100, half of this to be paid about Christmas of this year.' I shall give him an option on all my future books, but this can be arranged in such a way as not to tie me down if for some special reason I want to take a book elsewhere.

Yours sincerely E. A. Blair