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George Orwell is one of the world's most influential writers, the visionary author of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-four and non-fiction classics Down and Out in Paris in London, The Road toWigan Pier and Homage to Catalonia. George Orwell was born Eric Blair in India in 1903 into a comfortable'lower-upper-middle class' family. Orwell's father had served the British Empire, and Orwell's own first job was as a policeman in Burma. Orwell wrote in "Shooting an Elephant" (1936) that his time in the police force had shown him the "dirty work of Empire at close quarters"; the experience made him a lifelong foe of imperialism. By the time of his death in 1950, he was world-renowned as a journalist and author: for his eyewitness reporting on war (shot in the neck in Spain) and poverty (tramping in London, washing dishes in Paris or visiting pits and the poor in Wigan); for his political and cultural commentary, where he stood up to power and said the unsayable ('If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear'); and for his fiction, including two of the most popular novels ever written: Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.