Dione Venables

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Dione Venables
Venables, BFBS Malta, circa 1972
Venables, BFBS Malta, circa 1972
BornDione Gordon-Finlay
1930 (age 92–93)
Pen nameDG Finlay
OccupationNovelist, publisher
Geoffrey FD Loftus
(m. 1949; div. 1964)
John R Venables
(m. 1964; died 1996)
ParentsAlan Gordon Finlay; Florence Gallagher

Dione Patricia Mary Venables, also known by her pen name as DG Finlay, is an English novelist and publisher[1] who also founded The Orwell Society.[2]

Life and work[edit]

Venables was born Dione Gordon-Finlay in Great Missenden, England in 1930, the second daughter of Alan and Florence (née Gallagher). Her early childhood was dominated by a life at St. Leonard's boarding-school from the age of three, and then twice narrowly surviving The Blitz in London.[3] She developed a relationship with Arthur Ransome during the World War II, who encouraged her to write. Her first attempt, at age 11, featured a hedgehog called Edward Wigg, who was adapted by her cousin Jacintha Buddicom in support of the War Effort as part of the National Savings Movement.[4][5] Venables wrote her own diaries, but it was not until 1962 that she published her first articles for magazines and local newspapers reporting on her experiences in Africa,[6] the Middle East and Pakistan, while providing relief flights for refugees in war torn states.[7]

In 1969, Venables began writing and presenting scripts for radio[8] and in 1978, her first novel was published,[9] with its sequel a year later. In the 1980s, she wrote five more novels before switching her attention to publishing.

Venables at home, 2019

In 2006, Venables created Finlay Publisher with the aim of promoting the life and works of the writer George Orwell. Finlay Publisher's first act was to print a new edition of Eric & Us, adding an important post-script written by Venables[10] based on a series of previously unpublished diaries, letters and documented interviews.[11][12] In August of the same year, Venables created a website called Orwell Direct, a forum for academics and enthusiasts alike to exchange views about Orwell. In 2008, the site began publishing a series of twenty articles written by scholars who had written at length about Orwell. They included Sir Bernard Crick, Gordon Bowker, DJ Taylor, Peter Davison, and Orwell's son, Richard Blair.[13] Contributors encouraged Venables to institute a more formal collective of Orwell enthusiasts and on 27 December 2010, The Orwell Society was inaugurated by Venables at Phyllis Court. In 2015, she compiled and published Orwell's poetry,[14][15][16] and in 2017, she published an account of her own war time experiences.

Venables has worked to preserve the memory of George Orwell through guest appearances on television and radio and through The Orwell Society.[17][18]

Selected works[edit]


  • 1978 – Once Around the Sun[19]
  • 1779 – The Edge of Tomorrow[20]
  • 1984 – Watchman[21]
  • 1986 – The Grey Regard[22]
  • 1987 – Deadly Relations[23]
  • 1987 – Graven Image[24]
  • 1989 – The Killing Glance[25]


  • 2006 – Postscript to Eric & Us[26]
  • 2015 – Compilation George Orwell - The Complete Poetry[27]
  • 2017 – Author Dione's War[28]


  1. ^ The Orwell Foundation. "Dione Venables: Orwell - Plain speaking and hidden agendas". The Orwell Foundation. The Orwell Foundation. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  2. ^ The Orwell Society. "History". The Orwell Society. The Orwell Society. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  3. ^ Venables, Dione (2017). Dione's War. Chichester: Finlay Publisher.
  4. ^ Watkiss Singleton, Rosalind (2014). 'Doing Your Bit': Women and the National Savings Movement in the Second World War. Palgrave Macmillan, London. pp. 217–231. doi:10.1057/9781137348999_14. ISBN 978-1-137-34897-5. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  5. ^ Buddicom, Jacintha (1942). "The Happy Hedgehogs". National Savings Committee, London & Edinburgh (Wartime Pamphlets). WFL 14.
  6. ^ Loftus, Dione (1962). "A Surrey Air Hostess in Africa". The Surrey Advertiser.
  7. ^ Loftus, Dione (August 1966). "An Icon with Love". She.
  8. ^ BFBS publicity photograph, circa 1972
  9. ^ Good Reads. "Once Around the Sun". Goodreads. Goodreads, Inc. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  10. ^ Taylor, DJ (2003). Orwell: The Life. London: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 9780805074734. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  11. ^ Yeates, Robert (2013). "Review of The Unexamined Orwell". Modern Fiction Studies. 59 (4): 883–886. ISSN 0026-7724. JSTOR 26287297.
  12. ^ Hughes, Kathryn (17 February 2007). "George Orwells: Such were the Joys". The Guardian (UK edition): CULTURE. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  13. ^ Davison, Professor Peter (22 October 2011). "Farewell & Hail to Orwell site". The Orwell Society Newsletter. 1. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  14. ^ BBC News, Arts & Entertainment (18 October 2015). "George Orwell poetry collection published". No. Arts & Entertainment. BBC UK. BBC News. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  15. ^ The Newsroom. "FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER: In praise of George Orwell's poetry". Chichester Observer. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  16. ^ Howard, Kait. "Okay, okay: Orwell was no Byron". Melville House. Melville House. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  17. ^ The Orwell Society. "The Orwell Society George Talks Dione Venables and Richard Blair 20 December 2020". YouTube. The Orwell Society. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  18. ^ Morgan, Robin. "George Orwell: The Complete Poetry - a conversation between Dione Venables and Greg Wise". Audible. Amazon. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  19. ^ Finlay, DG (1978). Once Around The Sun. London: WH Allen & Co. ISBN 0352301880.
  20. ^ Finlay, DG (1979). The Edge of Tomorrow. London: WH Allen & Co. ISBN 0352304073.
  21. ^ Finlay, DG (1984). Watchman. London: Century. ISBN 0712602380.
  22. ^ Finlay, DG (1986). The Grey Regard. London: Century. ISBN 0712695079.
  23. ^ Finlay, DG (1987). Deadly Relation. London: Century Hutchinson & Co. ISBN 0712616500.
  24. ^ Finlay, DG (1987). Graven Image. London: Century Hutchinson & Co. ISBN 0712616500.
  25. ^ Finlay, DG (1989). The Killing Glance. London: Arrow Books Ltd. ISBN 0099558602.
  26. ^ Buddicom, Jacintha (2006). Eric & Us. Chichester: Finlay Publisher. ISBN 978-0-9553708-0-9.
  27. ^ Venables. George Orwell - The Complete Poetry. Finlay Publisher 2015.
  28. ^ Venables, Dione (2017). Dione's War. Chichester: Finlay Publisher.