Wednesday, 18 April 2012

New prize announced in memory of Gordon Burn

The Gordon Burn Prize will run each year in partnership with the Gordon Burn Trust, New Writing North and Faber and Faber

Gordon Burn was a writer for whom no subject or character was beyond fictionalising. Peter Sutcliffe, Alma Cogan, Duncan Edwards, George Best and Bobby Charlton, Damien Hirst, Gordon Brown, Margaret Thatcher, and even Gordon Burn himself: Burn loved to take characters already burnished in the celebrity spotlight and explore the darkness beneath. Sometimes he would choose fiction to do this, as in his Whitbread Prize-winning debut Alma Cogan; other times – and sometimes within the same book – his methods and intentions were more ambiguous. The reader begins to question the very nature of what he is reading. Fiction? Non-fiction? Faction?
The Gordon Burn Prize seeks to reward a published title (fiction or non-fiction) written in the English language, which in the opinion of the judges most successfully represents the spirit and sensibility of Gordon’s literary methods: novels which dare to enter history and interrogate the past; writers of non-fiction brave enough to recast characters and historical events to create a new and vivid reality. Literature which challenges perceived notions of genre and makes us think again about just what it is that we are reading.

The judges for the 2013 prize are novelist David Peace, journalist Deborah Orr, and novelist and broadcaster Mark Lawson.

A shortlist of no more than ten books will be announced in February 2013 and the winner of The Gordon Burn Prize will be announced at an awards ceremony in Newcastle upon Tyne in April 2013. The winning writer will receive a cheque for £5,000 and be offered the opportunity to undertake a writing retreat of up to three months at Gordon Burn’s cottage in Northumberland.
I am extremely pleased that this prize is being set up in Gordon Burn’s name, with the support of New Writing North and Faber. Gordon would have been thrilled as he loved prizes, and was very anxious that this sort of work should receive a wider audience. The fact that it will be awarded in Newcastle is particularly appropriate, as he was born and brought up there, and retained a strong connection and love for the city throughout his life.”
Carol Gorner, wife of Gordon Burn and part of the Gordon Burn Trust

As each year passes, the world of literature misses Gordon’s genius more and more. But the relevance of his books and his unique sensibility only gathers momentum. A prize in Gordon’s name, and with respect to his radical perspective and style will, I hope, continue to draw attention to this.
Lee Brackstone, publishing director at Faber and Faber

Gordon Burn was one of the most exciting writers to have emerged from the North East’s dynamic literary scene. This fantastic new prize will create a legacy for his work and keep interest alive in his novels and non-fiction. It was always a very stimulating experience to work with Gordon and I’m delighted to be supporting the prize and we are all looking forward to hosting the awards event in Newcastle next spring.
Claire Malcolm, chief executive of New Writing North

For full terms and conditions as well as submission guidelines, go to
See for further details on The Gordon Burn Prize as well as information on Gordon’s work.

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