"Hi folks, I never normally do this, but I filmed a few minutes of Richard Dawson at the GB Awards .... Ben x "
Thank you Ben Myers, so glad that you did. He was incredible.
There are many highlights throughout our year but it is of course always our proudest moment to be able to announce the winner of the Gordon Burn Prize. A huge thank you to the Durham Book Festival who last night hosted a unique and unforgettable prize event. Thank you to nominees Adrian Tempany, David Szalay, Harry Parker, Jeremy Gavron and Olivia Laing who read from their works and discussed them so brilliantly (thank you also to Otessa Moshfeghwho couldn't be there but sent a nice message). And thank you to judges' Jenn Ashworth and Harland Miller who presented the prize. We are honoured that the prize brings together diverse authors and titles that, in the spirit of Gordon Burn, are defiantly contemporary and push boundaries of form. This always makes for a remarkable, unpredictable evening that carries on Gordon's irreverent and authentic spirit. This ambition to create a prize and an event that is idiosyncratic and powerful was perfectly expressed by Newcastle singer-songwriter, Richard Dawson, whose performance blew everyone away. Watch and listen to him here.
So ... to the winner ....
All That Man Is by David Szalay was chosen as the winner of the Gordon Burn Prize 2016 by the judges, novelists Jenn Ashworth and William Boyd, journalist and writer Rachel Cooke, and the artist and author Harland Miller.
The stories in All That Man Is span Europe, from the suburbs of Prague to a cheap Cypriot hotel, and the experiences of nine men at different stages of life, in a piercing portrait of twenty-first century manhood.
Of judging the prize, novelist William Boyd said: “The overall standard of the shortlist – however individual the books – was exceptionally high. The merits of each title shone very brightly – fiction or non-fiction – and it was a difficult job to select a winner. It is an unusual but commendable feature of the prize that it will pit a novel against reportage or biography but the mix doesn’t seem to pose any problem, interestingly enough. Keeping Gordon Burn’s fiction and non-fiction in the back of our minds allowed us some real terms of reference in our necessarily subjective evaluation. As a result, in the final session, David Szalay’s All That Man Is emerged fairly swiftly as a front-runner. It is a novel – like Gordon’s fiction – that subtly changes the way you look at the contemporary world. A very rare effect, in fact. In addition, it is darkly funny, marvelously observant and written with a confidence and limpidity that make it a really remarkable novel.”
Journalist Rachel Cooke said: “I think our shortlist was strong: so varied, a football book next to a thriller, a family memoir snuggling up beside a book about art. In the end, though, All That Man Is stood out (to me) by a mile - a book that can, and will, be re-read, each time the reader finding something else funny, something else true. It's a witty book, sometimes savage, even, but it seems also to go places few novels and stories do now.... So many different kinds of men are portrayed here, in so many different places, and with so unsparing an eye. It's just fantastically well done. I feel incredibly excited that it's the one we chose.”
New Writing North have launched a great website dedicated to the prize, www.gordonburnprize.com
Congratulations to Ben Myers for his new novel, Turning Blue.
He also interviewed the controversial Tyson Fury.
"Tyson Fury is a victim of racism – from white people. He is part of a new golden age for British boxing, yet his traveller background means he is still not considered to be “one of us”.
The longlist is being whittled down. Thank you to everyone who submitted entries, hugely honoured to have over a hundred titles to sift through. Very gratifying.
Our illustrious judges are confirmed and it is a cracking line-up. We are proud to announce the judges for the Gordon Burn Prize 2016 are the novelists Jenn Ashworth and William Boyd, journalist and writer Rachel Cooke, and the artist and author Harland Miller.
Wow, what a year for Gordon Burn Trust supported authors. Congratulations to Dan Davies, winner of the Gordon Burn Prize 2015, and to Benjamin Myers, Richard Benson and Andrew McMillan. There is no greater vindication for what we are doing, than to see authors fulfilling potential and being celebrated and reaching the audiences they deserve. Long may it continue.
Congratulations to Benjamin Myers for winning the Portico Prize. Ben was the winner of the inaugural Gordon Burn Prize and has been a great friend and literary comrade ever since. We are proud to support him. A great talent.
WINNERS ANNOUNCED FOR THE NORTH’S LEADING LITERARY AWARD
The winners of the 2015 Portico Prize for Literature, the North’s leading literary award were announced on 26 November 2015.
Renowned crime novelist Val McDermid, a former winner of the Portico Prize, made the awards at a gala dinner at the Mecure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel that was also a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Prize.
Benjamin Myers was awarded £10,000 for the Fiction/Poetry category for his novel Beastings
Earlier in the year Beastings, published by Bluemoose Books, was short-listed for the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize. In the past two years Benjamin Myers has won and been short-listed for several literary prizes which include winning the inaugural Gordon Burn Prize 2013 with Pig Iron, The Society of Authors' Tom Gallon Prize 2014 and The Northern Writers' Award 2014 for Beastings.
Congratulations also to 2014 Gordon Burn Prize shortlisted author, Richard Benson, who has won the non-fiction prize for The Valley.
From The Observer ... Geoff Dyer explores the fine line between fact and fiction ...
‘Based on a true story’: the fine line between fact and fiction
From Kapuscinski to Knausgaard, from Mantel to Macfarlane, more and more writers are challenging the border between fiction and nonfiction. Here Geoff Dyer – longtime master of the space between, in books such as But Beautiful and Out of Sheer Rage – argues that there is no single path to ‘truth’ while, below, writers on both sides of the divide share their thoughts…
Vice interview with Dan Davies
The Guardian first book award 2015 has been awarded to poet Andrew McMillan. The Gordon Burn Trust is proud to have hosted Andrew and provided him with valuable writing time. We're honoured to have supported him and such an important work.
'Dan Davies, winner of the 2015 Gordon Burn prize, explains his long struggle to get to know the man behind the persona and write a true account of an appalling life'.
Excellent piece in The Guardian by Dan Davies about what drove him to write In Plain Sight, his biography of Jimmy Savile.
"There is nobody in the world who wants to read a bad book about Jimmy Savile, and there may well, for understandable reasons, be a limit to the number of people who want to read an outstanding one. Davies scarcely puts a foot wrong, interweaving Savile's story with a devastatingly detailed account of how the BBC's dysfunctional news department managed in 2011 so completely both to suppress the scoop of Saville's offences and then, unbelievably, to further mishandle the admission of that suppression...
If the book is considerably less depressing than you might anticipate, it's because the act of biography itself here seems noble. Four hundred and fifty people have so far made allegations of sexual abuse against Savile. Across 28 police areas in England and Wales, he is known to have committed 214 criminal offences in 50 years. There are 31 allegations of rape, half of them against minors, and Dame Janet Smith's independent review at the BBC is believed to be about to claim that up to 1,000 young people may have been abused by Savile in the corporation's dressing rooms. All religions rely on the notion of redemption, but the only redeeming feature of Savile's life is that he has posthumously lucked into such a clear‑eyed and morally conscientious biographer. Prince Charles once wrote "Nobody will ever know what you have done for this country, Jimmy." They do now."
In the Metro
Gordon Burn's editor, Lee Brackstone, on the importance of the Gordon Burn prize and in championing fearless writers
We have a winner. The remarkable In Plain Sight by Dan Davies was announced the winner on Friday night at our annual prize shindig at the Durham Book Festival. We will be writing a full account of the event soon, but it's enough to say now that three of the short-listed authors and a judge were still out dancing in Durham's Fabio's nightclub at 4am, which we count as just one of many successes over the course of a wonderful evening.
Bit late to the party but we're very pleased to have come across this excellent piece by short-listed author, Honor Gavin, talking about her remarkable novel, Midland
It's almost GB Prize fiesta time. Your chance to join the short-listed authors, the judges, the Trust and - we're very pleased to announce - Maximo Park's Paul Smith who will be performing. Gordon Burn loved music and a good party and it's been important to us that each prize announcement is a real celebration. We've had amazing music guests to date - Field Music's Dave Brewis and The Cornshed Sisters.
Free drink, music and readings - what more could you ask for.
Hear the shortlisted authors read from and talk about their work and enjoy exclusive live music from Maximo Park’s Paul Smith, with a drink courtesy of Durham Distillery and Fentimans.
Friday 9 October,
Durham Town Hall
£10/£8 (includes a drink, courtesy of Durham Distillery and Fentimans)
Book tickets here
Thank you to bookaholic, savidgereads, for his blog on the shortlist - and his promise to read all of the books before the prize announcement. We look forward to hearing his thoughts.
And ... here is the shortlist! It's been almost impossible to not shout about our judges amazing choices - today, finally, we can reveal the selection:
The winner will be announced on 9 October at Durham Book Festival, a Durham County Council festival produced by New Writing North.
Claire Malcolm, chief executive of New Writing North, said:
We were delighted with the quality of this year’s Gordon Burn Prize submissions and our judges had their work cut out for them deciding on the five titles to make the shortlist. The nature of this prize means that the selected books are all very different – each bold and fresh in their own approach – but they all give a sense that their writers are entrenched in the world they are writing about, and reflecting it back to the reader in a clear-sighted, even ferocious, way. It makes me very optimistic about the state of British publishing that such fantastic writing is being published. I hope the prize helps to raise awareness of these titles, as they deserve to be widely read.”
Carol Gorner, founder of the Gordon Burn Prize said: “All of the books on the shortlist have a special quality which would have appealed to Gordon. They either approach their subject forensically and with rigour, which only a very committed writer can do, or they experiment and take an unexpected and revealing slant. They all deserve to be read and noticed by as many readers as possible.”
Each judge has commented on one book from the shortlist:
In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile by Dan Davies
Roddy Doyle said: “In Plain Sight is a shocking book, and it is also shockingly good. Cleverly structured, so well researched and so well written, it tells its story quite brilliantly.”
Midland by Honor Gavin
Gavin Turk said: “To me, reading this book was dream-like as I sequenced between nostalgia and explicitly remembered detail. The narrative scenarios drew me into a believable world that was also a kind of science fiction. I loved the way that Honor played with language peppering the pages with a wonderful mix of colloquiums and made up words that brought me closer to the heart of the world I was suspended in.”
Noon Tide Toll by Romesh Gunesekera
Doug Johnstone said: “Noon Tide Toll is a subtle and graceful collection of road stories set in a modern Sri Lanka still coping with the aftermath of war and the tsunami. Dealing with big themes of redemption and morality, it does so with a wonderfully intimate feel and a huge human heart."
Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev
Maxine Peake said: “Nothing is True and Everything is Possible takes you on a dystopian journey into Putin’s Russia. Funny, intense and alluring. A real ride of a book. I was plunged into a world of unknowns, which quickly became frighteningly familiar. Fascinating, exciting, grotesque.”
Original Rockers by Richard King
Suzanne Moore said: “I was mesmerised by Richard King's memoir Original Rockers. It glistens. Tight, spacey, mood-altering just like much of the music he describes.”
Already today's announcement has appeared in The Bookseller. Thank you The Bookseller. They've commented on the fact that four of the titles are published by independents. We're also proud that three of the books are exploratory exemplars of non-fiction. Particularly in light of Sam Leith's recent comment piece about the crisis in 'quality' non-fiction.
Thank you to our judges who met on Friday to select the shortlist. It was a fascinating and robust dialogue, with each book having passionate supporters and everyone thrilled by the quality of the works. Of course, this meant there were some difficult decisions but the result is a truly cracking shortlist. Congratulations to all.
And belated congratulations are due to last year's winner, Paul Kingsnorth and last year's judge, Sarah Lucas. Paul Kingsnorth has been awarded the inagugural Book of the Year prize at the Bookseller Awards.
'The magazine’s editor Philip Jones called The Wake “a remarkable book remarkably published”. Prize judge and the Bookseller’s associate editor Caroline Sanderson said the choice “might seem controversial”, because The Wake “is not the bestselling book of the year, nor are we arguing that it is the book we loved reading most – although it is arresting and extraordinary”.
But she said: “What stood out about The Wake is what it proves: that publishing is now so creative and fleet of foot that anything is possible. Moreover, it is a shining example of a 21st-century book: both a beautiful, traditional object that is a pleasure to possess, and a publication that came about through the power of online crowdsourcing.”'
And Sarah Lucas is representing Britain at the Venice Biennale. Some lucky trust members made an excursion to see her fabulous custard coloured exhibit. Bold, elegant, funny and daring - it's worth a look.
We are hugely excited to announce the longlist for the Gordon Burn Prize 2015.
“The titles on this year's long list were arrived at from submissions of extraordinary variety and high quality. We are pleased for our amazing judges that they have such an incredible list to look forward to, but don't envy them having to select a shortlist, let alone a winner. Each one of these represents a remarkable achievement by their author and deserves to be celebrated and recognised.” Carol Gorner, founder of the Gordon Burn Trust
“The longlist is such a great showcase for the prize, set up in memory of Gordon. Sharing the fearlessness, integrity and cross genre styles and interests of Gordon's work, it includes books and writers drawing on the past while interrogating the present. It's a fascinating list and we can't wait to see what the judges do next.” Angus Cargill, Editorial Director, Faber & Faber
“From graphic novels and stunning short story collections to penetrating non-fiction and a number of books that test the borders of these definitions, the 2015 longlist is an exciting list. The selected books highlight many areas of interest that Gordon’s work covered from crime and art to history and are all explored in unique and compelling ways”. Claire Malcolm, Chief Executive, New Writing North
The full longlist for the Gordon Burn Prize 2015 is:
Martin Amis: The Zone of Interest (Vintage)
Dan Davies: In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile (Quercus)
Sam Delaney: Mad Men and Bad Men: What Happened when British Politics met Advertising (Faber and Faber)
Paul Ewen: Francis Plug: How To Be A Public Author (Galley Beggar Press)
Honor Gavin: Midland (Penned in the Margins)
Romesh Guneskera: Noon Tide Toll (Granta Books)
Richard King: Original Rockers (Faber and Faber)
Ben Lerner: 10.04 (Granta Books)
Hilary Mantel: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories (Fourth Estate)
Scott McCloud: The Sculptor (Self Made Hero)
Peter Pomerantsev: Nothing is True and Everything is Possible (Faber and Faber)
Simon Rich: Spoiled Brats (Serpent’s Tail)
Sarah Thornton: 33 Artists in 3 Acts (Granta Books)
The judges for this year's prize are the author Roddy Doyle, actress Maxine Peake, journalist Suzanne Moore, artist Gavin Turk and author Doug Johnstone.
The winner of the Gordon Burn Prize 2015 will receive a cheque for £5,000, plus the option of a three-month writing retreat in Gordon Burn’s cottage in the Scottish Borders. The winner will be awarded on 9 October at Durham Book Festival. The shortlist is to be announced in August.
Thank you Doug! We're honoured to have your support.
We are incredibly pleased to announce that submissions are open for the Gordon Burn Prize 2015 and to confirm that the judges are actress Maxine Peake, author Roddy Doyle, author Doug Johnstone, artist Gavin Turk and journalist Suzanne Moore. It's a barn-storming line-up. You can find out more and apply either on this site here or via the New Writing North website. The closing date for submissions is 2 March 2015.
The shortlist will be announced in August 2015 and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony as part of Durham Book Festival in October 2015.
Carol Gorner, wife of Gordon Burn: “The establishing of the prize is something Gordon wanted to happen and he would be thrilled by how well it has been received. He really loved prizes, and not only when he won. This might sound unlikely for the author of Happy Like Murderers, but the emotion and drama of awards always moved and fascinated him. In addition to the amazing winners, the response from those asked to be judges, and the quality of the short listed writers has far exceeded our expectations. It has validated our and Gordon's belief that there is an appetite for fearless and original writing. We can't wait for the next winners to emerge.”
Lee Brackstone, Gordon Burn’s editor at Faber & Faber, and creative director of Faber Social: “The Gordon Burn Prize rewards innovative work across both fiction and non-fiction which best represents the spirit of Gordon's prose. In a celebrity-saturated world, which is increasingly documented in monochrome and monotonous style, it is thrilling to be associated with a prize that embraces adventurous and unusual ways of engaging with the culture.”
Claire Malcolm, Chief Executive of New Writing North: “Gordon Burn was one of the most exciting writers to have emerged from the North East’s dynamic writing scene. This prize creates a living legacy for his work and will keep interest alive in his novels and non-fiction. It was always a very stimulating experience to work with Gordon and the two novelists that have received the prize so far are both contributing much to the UK’s literary scene”.
This year's Gordon Burn Prize winner, Paul Kingsnorth has published a valedictory blog, a moving comment on recalibrating to life post the, surprise, to him, success of The Wake. He's a bit dismissive of prizes, but we won't take that personally, we're sure he's talking about the big prizes that didn't choose to support him. Paul is signing off from the online world to start work on two (!) follows-up to The Wake. One set in the present and one in the far future. What an extraordinary adventure he is setting off on, we wish him all the very best and an abundance of 'delving silence'. Something that we also respect and treasure at the Gordon Burn Trust cottage.
A thoughtful meditation by Benjamin Myers about his first stay at the Gordon Burn Trust cottage is being published in the very handsome, An Antidote to Indifference. The fanzine is a compilation of writing from the Caught By the River website and you can still read the article online here. Although, we'd recommend you fork out £5 and own it.
Two of the Gordon Burn Prize extended family have been up to tremendous things. This morning, former prize judge, John Burnside, was on Front Row. And last week we were bowled over by the multi-talented Willy Vlautin, 2014 prize nominee, who was in London with his utterly gorgeous country soul band, http://thedelines.bandcamp.com. If you haven't read Willy's unbearably beautiful short-listed novel, The Free, do it NOW. Buy some kleenex first. And we have to pay tribute to the band's singer, Amy Boone. What a voice.
Great article in The Guardian championing this year's Gordon Burn Prize winner, Paul Kingsnorth.
It seems fitting to illustrate this with a snap (below) sent to us last week by last year's winner, Ben Myers, who is currently in residency in the cottage. Bliss.
Winner of the Gordon Burn Prize 2014, Paul Kingsnorth, has been invited by artist and writer Stanley Donwood, to read from his book as part of a special Faber Social. Paul joins actor, writer and artist Ric Jerrom who will be reading from Stanley Donwood’s forthcoming collection of fiction, Humor. Plus more readings, and live music. £10, prebook, 7pm
A toast to New Writing North, inaugural Gordon Burn Prize winner, Ben Myers, and photographer Nick Small who have collaborated on the gorgeous, Heathcliff Adrift. Hand-made by Tangerine Press, there are only 100 copies available.
Paul Kingsnorth in the new issue of the London Review of Books:
Congratulations to Paul Kingsnorth, winner of this year's Gordon Burn Prize! We had an amazing evening, each author read and discussed their works. There was swearing (only mild and part of a reading), laughter (thank you to artist George Shaw, a great friend of Gordon's who handed out the prize and who revealed that Les Dawson was a philosophy student who studied in Paris), beauty (thank you to the Cornshed Sisters, who did a gorgeous, dreamy version of Alma Cogan's Sugartime) and Old English - thanks to our winner, Paul Kingsnorth. Judge Benjamin Myers, author of Beastings and Pig Iron, and winner of the 2013 Gordon Burn Prize, explained their choice, "The ‘shadow tongue’ vocabulary that is the novel’s architecture automatically makes The Wake a unique entity, yet it is so much more than a dazzling display of linguistic flair. Paul Kingsnorth creates his own world - that of an old England that is both familiar yet utterly alien - and pulls you in to bear witness to our own bloody history first hand. Poetry, landscape, mythology and language are shot through with fleeting flashes of violence on which modern society is founded. Months after first reading it part of me is still within this novel, and I truly believe future generations will regard The Wake as a classic."
In Paul Kingsnorth's winning book, The Wake, we don't know if this is history as conveyed by a psychopath or how it might have happened or both. Either way, it is an astonishing book. A terrifying and mesmerising tale of Saxon rebels, it conjures up a blood-soaked Old England - yet speaks to a Britain of today – a country battling foreign fundamentalism, fearful of its borders and pitting nature against an energy-hungry people. The feat of language is breath-taking. The Gordon Burn Trust cottage is filled with Burn's books on English regional dialects – Burn was fascinated by language, its poetic properties and its power to give people identity, and to mark them, he would have applauded the astonishing audacity of Paul Kingsnorth's 'shadow tongue'. Paul Kingsnorth explained at the event that he realised it was a crazy experiment and never expected anyone to read the book, which makes it exactly the sort of work that the prize has been established to support and we thank our judges - Sarah Lucas, John Burnside, Benjamin Myers and Julian Barratt - in selecting such a remarkable work. We would also like to thank all of the authors on the shortlist. We are truly honoured to champion each one of them.
Following the prize event, we returned to the cottage to christen the new artist studio with log fires, wine and pumpkins. A perfect day.
Left to right:
Claire Malcolm, New Writing North; Angus Carlill, Faber; Carol Gorner, Gordon Burn Trust; George Shaw, artist and this year's prize hander-outer; winner, author of The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth.
Tonight is prize night! We cannot wait. It's going to be a magical evening with readings from the short-listed authors, plus music from the Cornshed Sisters. New Writing North have been working their socks off for the event - and we send them a huge thank you. Meanwhile, we at the Gordon Burn Trust have our own final preparations to make:
'Pumpkins, flowers, plates, cups and saucers, table ready to go, chairs, booze - take up, lay fire'
Gordon has been referenced in a piece about David Hockney 'conquering Hollywood' in the 1970s. The writer quotes from Gordon's very entertaining interview with Hockney, which appears in his collected writings, Sex & Violence, Death & Silence: Encounters with Recent Art.
‘When [Hockney] isn’t fielding phone calls and queries he is curled up on the carpet nuzzling his constant companion, Stanley,’ said writer Gordon Burn.
‘He throws plastic waffles and squeaky toys for Stanley and holds Stanley so that his little pink tongue flickers in and out of his nostrils. Hockney is besotted with Stanley... the feeling seems mutual.’
Thank you to Doug Johnstone for this incredibly supportive compliment that featured in the Big Issue:
'The Gordon Burn Prize is one of my favourite awards, recognising brave and fearless writing, so i was well chuffed that three of the newly announced, six-strong shortlist have featured here. Great books by Willy Vlautin, Gruff Rhys and Olivia Lang.' Doug Johnstone, BIG ISSUE
The shortlist has been announced! What an incredible list. We are ecstatic.
The Valley by Richard Benson (Bloomsbury)
Drawing on historical research and interviews, Richard Benson charts the history of the close-knit villages of the Dearne Valley. An often overlooked group of ordinary, working-class people, Benson explores their lives with a microscopic intensity thanks to extensive and meticulous research.
The Kills by Richard House (Picador)
Richard House’s The Kills is an epic of four parts, moving across countries, between characters, and sometimes even genres. A novel of crime and conspiracy, the real appeal lies in the multimedia content the accompanies the novel, allowing for a more involved experience in the story outside of the confines of the book’s pages thanks to the additional visual and audio content.
The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth (Unbound)
Though The Battle of Hastings is well known, what happened next is something usually ignored. Paul Kingsnorth’s Man Booker Prize longlisted novel takes the historical fact about the forgotten war of resistance against the Normans that sprouted up after the battle to create a story of a man of the Lincolnshire fens facing up against the conquest. The Wake is unique in its use of what Kingsnorth describes as a “shadow tongue” – a version of Old English adapted to be understandable by modern readers.
The Trip to Echo Spring by Olivia Laing (Canongate)
Some of the most renowned authors were also known to consume massive quantities of alcohol. Hunter S Thompson, it is said, once downed 20 glasses of double Wild Turkey while at his first meeting with a major publisher. Olivia Laing has devoted her book to figuring out just why exactly these authors always turned to the bottle for inspiration, examining the links between drink and creativity among the likes of Ernest Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald and John Cheever.
American Interior by Gruff Rhys (Hamish Hamilton)
Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys set out on an "investigative concert tour" in 2012 that followed the footsteps of John Evans, a Welshman who travelled to America in the Seventies to try and find the rumoured tribe of Welsh-speaking native Americans that were said to exist on the great plains. American Interior chronicles this psychedelic journey across America and into the very idea of myths.
The Free by Willy Vlautin (Faber & Faber)
Willy Vlautin’s fourth novel is a tale of the after-effects of the Iraq war, and the toll it can take on the ordinary people hit by the legacy of the war. Written in a stripped-down economic style, Vlautin’s novel is unflinching in its brutality, but heartfelt in its humanity. A dark story with glimmers of hope shining through.
The prize got mentions both in the Telegraph and in the NME - two polar publications, perhaps not as far apart as they once were, but it still makes us very proud.
Read about it here, here and ... here:
We are very proud to be able to announce the long-list for the 2014 Gordon Burn Writing Prize. We received over 100 entries, all deserving, and are honoured to have such an incredible line-up. The books are:
The Valley by Richard Benson
The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth
American Interior by Gruff Rhys
The Trip to Echo Spring by Olivia Laing
The Moor by William Atkins
The Parallel Apartments by Bill Cotter
Other People's Countries by Patrick McGuinness
Marshland by Gareth E Rees
The Free by Willy Vlautin
The Kills by Richard House
Can't and Won't by Lydia Davis
My Biggest Lie by Luke Brown
Whatever Happened to Billy Parks by Gareth Roberts
The shortlist will be announced July 1st, 2014.
The judges are Sarah Lucas, Julian Barratt, Ben Myers and John Burnside
The winner will be announced on October 10th at the Durham Book Festival
The studio is racing ahead! The internal frame is up.
Inaugural writing prize winner, Ben Myers, has a new novel coming out, Beastings. It is now available for pre-order from Amazon here. It will published on July 3rd 2014 by Bluemoose Books.
'“Beastings” is the first milk that a cow produces – the colostrum - after it has given birth'
GO AND BUY IT!
We are very excited to announce that the artist studio is under construction. It will be ready in August and we will soon be announcing details of the Nigel Greenwood Art Prize, who we will be partnering with to run our new artist residency. Nigel Greenwood was a gallerist and curator who was respected for his great eye and for being instrumental in the development of art in Britain and beyond, particularly in relation to Conceptual art in the 1970s. He and Gordon first met in 1973, when Gordon contacted him about an interview with Gilbert and George, and the pair remained lifelong friends.
Congratulations to prize judge John Burnside for the publication of his new book, I Put A Spell on You. It has quite rightly been receiving rave reviews.
'Burnside is a master poet and more importantly, he is self-aware. His control of language and ability to interrogate his instincts prevents him from slipping into self-indulgence. Instead, he has created a work of scalding honesty, inviting the reader to witness his most intimate and troubling thoughts, thoughts that most of us turn away from, preferring to hide behind the comfort of convention. Burnside belongs elsewhere, one of those who prefers, as he puts it, “the dark end of the fair”'.
'Women need to read this book. It lays out so nakedly, and with such persuasive power, certain mythic patterns in young male longing: that "strange twisted maze of desire and refusal" that can feel so baffling and bruising, on the receiving end.'
Happy GB Trustmas!
Happy holidays and a huge thank you to everyone who made 2013 such an amazing year!
GB Trust prize winner Ben Myers is finishing the year in barnstorming style.
He has the below profile currently published in Living North.
He has written this great piece for the Guardian:
He has published this book:
An early Christmas treat, the GB Trust's first televisual experience. Thank you BBC.
We are extremely honoured ('over the Howard Moon' in fact, ahem, if you'll allow a very bad judge related pun) to reveal that the judges for the 2014 Gordon Burn Prize are artist Sarah Lucas, comedian and actor Julian Barratt, writer and poet John Burnside and 2013 prize winner, novelist Ben Myers. Submissions are now open for the prize, details are to be found in the prize section. The deadline is February 2014 and the shortlist will be announced in August 2014.
The Gordon Burn Trust, Faber & Faber and New Writing North are hugely excited to confirm that Benjamin Myers has won the inaugural Gordon Burn Prize for his novel, Pig Iron. The announcement was made on Saturday October 19th at the Durham Book Festival. The Trust would like to say a huge thank you to all of the shortlisted authors who made the event such an incredibly moving and entertaining evening. Richard Lloyd Parry is based in Tokyo, so was unable attend but Duncan Hamilton, Jean Rafferty, Anthony Cartwright and Benjamin Myers all spoke at the event and read from their brilliant and very diverse novels. The evening, thank you to New Writing North, was held in the illustrious setting of Durham Town Hall, resplendent with civic insignia. Gordon would have been proud that amongst the formal setting, lots of wine was drunk and Dave Brewis from Field Music soundtracked each reading with original compositions inspired by the nominated books. The stars of the night were the authors who each spoke with huge feeling and eloquence about the journey they and their novels had taken. Heartwarming for the Trust was to hear that each author had unexpected links with Gordon Burn, Duncan Hamilton for example prompted one of many Kleenex moments when he revealed,
" I had specifically asked Random House to enter me for the prize – the only occasion I have done so in regard to a literary award – simply because of my regard for Gordon and his work. Gordon IS the writer I’d love to be. My wife and I were about to board a plane for New York when I learned of my short-listing. I was so pleased that I could have subsequently flown there without the aid of Aer Lingus!"
Together their collective experiences were exactly the validation the Trust had hoped for that this is a much needed Prize that can give voice to works that might otherwise go unrecognised or that deserve to be looked at through an unexpected lens. Also that the works can themselves can give voice to experiences perhaps not heard as much as they should be. Thank you to judge Deborah Orr for expressing this so affectingly in her description, below, of why Pig Iron, after a hard fought judging battle, was chosen as the winner.
“In Pig Iron, Benjamin Myers’s most recent novel, I think we have alighted on a work that captures the spirit of the Gordon Burn Prize perfectly. Which is good. This being the inaugural award, it was very important for us to start as we mean to go on. The novel is about a young man from the travelling community, John-John. He is struggling to escape the abusive legacy of his bare-knuckle fighter father. He is trying to make a settled life for himself, on the edge of a Northern town, when all he has even know is the hardest of rural lives as a gypsy - that and prison. He still loves the countryside - his special spot, the spot he loves most, he calls his “green cathedral”. I think Gordon would have liked this book very much, as does his widow, Carol Gorner. But, oddly enough, I don’t think he would actually have been interested in writing this book, or one like it. While that might seem paradoxical, that’s good too. Other judge’s favourites, as you know from the shortlist, included books that were much more similar in theme to some of Gordon’s - serial killing or sport, say, or serial-killing as sport. But Pig Iron had its own subject, and treated it in the way that Gordon always treated his - by exploring it in a comprehensive context - social, political, cultural, economic, psychological, sexual. Often, the real or fictional characters in Gordon’s books had come to towns and cities, or left them. Gordon wrote a lot about people existing in the interstices, finding themselves unable to make the transition from one type of life to another, or making the transition by relying on perversity and brutality. It’s that purposeful engagement with the difficulties of leaving a rural life for a town life, each with their own different brutalities, that makes Pig Iron Burnsian. Pig Iron is an important book because it tells a story that has shaped all contemporary Western humans, but is routinely, inexplicably overlooked - the great move from agricultural life to industrial life. The respect in which that shapes human culture and individual humans was something Gordon was always thrummingly alive to. And, of course, Pig Iron is beautifully written. But that’s the least of the things that the work of Benjamin Myers has in common with the work of Gordon Burn.”
For an author's-eye-view of the event - taking in some well-timed lightning and an epic cassoulet - Jean Rafferty has published an excellent account of the night and of the celebratory lunch hosted the next day at the The Trust's home in the Borders - http://www.jeanrafferty.com/blog.html.
The event truly exceeded all our hopes and we look forward to many, many more.
We are also very proud and honoured that each author has said that we can publish their speeches and book extracts on this site, also that Dave Brewis has said we can feature his original compositions. These will be published shortly.
Meanwhile, the Guardian have written this nice article about the Prize and it's deserving first winner, Benjamin Myers
Many thanks to David Peace who has written a wonderful tribute to Gordon, his literary 'hero', in The Guardian today.
Reality without imagination is only half of reality, argued Buñuel. And it is this argument between reality and imagination that runs through every sentence Gordon Burn ever wrote, equally in his non-fiction and in his fiction. A reporter and a poet, Gordon saw and Gordon felt. And he empathised. And animated and illuminated people as elusive and familiar, as real and imagined as Steve Davis and Peter Sutcliffe, Damien Hirst and Duncan Edwards, George Best and Rosemary West, Alma Cogan and Madeline McCann, Gilbert and George and Tony and Gordon. All our obsessions are here: sport and crime, art and politics, celebrity and fame, sex and violence, death and silence, the surfaces and the depths. And like BS Johnson or WG Sebald, Derek Raymond or Eoin McNamee, Gordon is a writer other writers read. And learn from and are inspired by. Particularly the first and the last novels, Alma Cogan and Born Yesterday, which show the opportunity and potential for a truly modern novel. And there is no greater testimony to Gordon's continued influence and relevance than the inaugural shortlist for the prize founded in his memory: How I Killed Margaret Thatcher by Anthony Cartwright, The Footballer Who Could Fly by Duncan Hamilton, People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry, Pig Iron by Benjamin Myers and Myra, Beyond Saddleworth by Jean Rafferty. Fictions and non-fictions. In all their glories and in all their deceits. Everything real, everything imagined. In the cross-hairs, asking for truth. And so I hope Gordon would have approved. Because it is an honour to be one of the judges for this prize and it was a privilege to have been his friend.
• David Peace's Red or Dead is published by Faber. The winner of the inaugural Gordon Burn Prize will be announced on 19 October in Durham Town Hall at a special event during the Durham book festival. Details: durhambookfestival.com.
Congratulations to GB Prize judge, David Peace, who has been receiving praise for his new novel, Red or Dead. Here he is, at the centre of the scrum, at last week's Durham Book Festival programme launch. As well as announcing the Prize shortlist, David read movingly from Red or Dead, and talked about his admiration for Bill Shankly, a real 'socialist hero', and the subject of his new book.
The GB Trust is delighted to confirm that alongside the shortlisted authors reading from their works, Field Music's Dave Brewis will be performing at the winner announcement on 19 October at Durham Book Festival, 6.30pm, Durham Town Hall.
Sunderland's finest, Field Music, are favourites of the Trust, we are truly honoured and can't wait to hear how he responds to Gordon's work.
The Trust has received plannng consent for an artist studio in the garden of the cottage. The aim is to have it ready in time for next Spring. This will enable us to offer artist residencies. Don't worry, the ping pong table is staying!
The shortlist for the inaugural Gordon Burn Writing Prize was announced last week at Durham Castle. Surrounded by muskets and stained glass, judge and author David Peace read out the list, they are:
HOW I KILLED MARGARET THATCHER by Anthony Cartwright (Tindal Street Press)
THE FOOTBALLER WHO COULD FLY by Duncan Hamilton (Century)
PEOPLE WHO EAT DARKNESS by Richard Lloyd Parry (Jonathan Cape)
PIG IRON by Benjamin Myers (Blue Moose Books)
MYRA, BEYOND SADDLEWORTH by Jean Rafferty (Wild Wolf Publishing)
It's a remarkable selection, covering sport, crime, ambitious fiction, moving non-fiction, and it reflects Gordon's complex and wide-ranging interests and passions. All are superb titles, we don't envy the judges their task
Gordon Burn Writing Prize at the Durham Book Festival
The Trust has been incredibly busy over the past year - and we can now confirm lots of exciting new developments.
We are extremely proud that the inaugural Gordon Burn Writing Prize ceremony will now take place at this year’s Durham Book Festival, not the London Book Fair as originally announced.
Partnering with the Durham Book Festival is a huge honour for the Trust and the Prize. The prize announcement will take place on Saturday October 21st. There will be a public event with the short-listed authors, as well as the announcement. Times and locations will be added here soon.
Author and prize judge, David Peace, will announce the shortlist for the Gordon Burn Writing Prize on August 7th at the Book Festival launch event.
The Durham Book Festival is an annual celebration of books and reading that takes place in Durham each October. The festival is managed by New Writing North and funded by Durham County Council and Arts Council England.
Cottage and garden studio
The Gordon Burn Trust has officially now purchased Gordon Burn’s house in Longformacus and planning has been submitted for a small studio in the garden.
Trustee meeting and future plans
The first trustee meeting was a great success. It took place at the Pig’s Ear, a name we chose not to take auspiciously. It was agreed that, alongside the Writing Prize, the Trust will establish an Art Award and a Music Award. These will commence once the studio is in place, hopefully by 2014. These awards will be for artists and musicians who require time and space to work on a specific project. Winning applicants will be offered the cottage, living expenses paid, for up to 3 months. There will also be a bursary with the award, amount to be determined.
It was also agreed that the cottage should be made available to artists, writers and musicians as an affordable holiday home. If you would be interested to rent the cottage from December 2013, please email email@example.com.
Friends of Gordon Burn Trust
As a registered charity, the Gordon Burn Trust relies on the support of patrons in order to carry out our work. We are a small organisation who aim simply to support good art by helping artists financially and by providing them with a tranquil space in which to work and create.
“Every time that Gordon wanted to finish a book”, commented Carol Gorner, his wife, at the recent Trustee meeting, “the only way he could work was to rent a cottage. He needed that isolation.” It is in this spirit that the Trust has been established, to provide creative individuals with the means and the space in which to create.
If you are interested to donate, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
All donations will go directly towards bursaries that will fund awardees during their stay at the cottage
All Friends will receive an annual newsletter, an invitation to the Gordon Burn Writing Prize Longformacus lunch, plus a Friends rate to stay at the cottage.
Exciting updates about The Trust and the Prize coming soon!
Gordon's Pocket Money has received a nice nod in a piece in the Scotsman following the news of Stephen Hendry's retirement.
STEPHEN Hendry was walking round the table at Marco’s Leisure on Grove Street, Edinburgh; pudding-basin haircut, white socks and loafers and in a commanding lead in the final of the 1986 Scottish professional championship. It was March and he’d not long turned 17. He had what observers called a rather spooky self-possession.
He was, wrote Gordon Burn in Pocket Money, “Tall, erect, immaculate, he looked and even moved like a competitor in the old-time section of ‘Come Dancing: stopping and turning at the corners of the table, he locked his heels together and swivelled delicately on the balls of his shiny, leather-shod feet. His opponent, meanwhile, tattooed, brawny, bedecked in sovereign rings, laboured and sweated as profusely as if it was a pick-axe he was wielding rather than a cue. A couple of inches below the royal-blue stain backing of his waistcoat was a darn as big as a bathroom plug.”
Hendry became the youngest ever winner of the Scottish professional title that day, then he went to Preston to try and qualify for the world championships; four matches and four victories required to make it to the Crucible, to go down in history as the youngest ever to appear on snooker’s biggest stage...
Congratulations Ben Myers on his new novel, Pig Iron. After Gordon died, Ben wrote a wonderful tribute piece in the Guardian about the influence Gordon's work has had, and continues to have, on an exciting new generation of Northern writers.
Ben writes about Pig Iron: 'Pig Iron is about nature, gypsies, ice cream men, violence, council estates, caravans and the post-industrial north-east of England.'
Pig Iron will be in shops May 31st 2012, published by Bluemoose Books. It is now available to pre-order in paperback or limited edition hardback via the usual outlets such as Amazon: amzn.to/IKbO2a
Fearsome tweeter and Gordon Burn Prize judge, Deborah Orr, is one of three journalists who conducted the interviews that form the backbone of The National Theatre of Scotland's acclaimed new play, Enquirer. Tackling a subject that Gordon Burn was preoccupied with throughout his career, tabloid journalism, it is a verbatim play based on interviews with 43 leading figures in the newspaper industry. It has received rave reviews, the BBC saying, "Not since Black Watch has the National Theatre of Scotland created a piece as timely and as relevant." It's a timely reminder to turn back to Gordon Burn's ferocious and prescient novel about the mucky travails of a burned out hack, Norman Miller, Fullalove. After Fullalove was published, Gordon was shocked to learn that so accurate was his portrait of the tactics of a desperate and morally ambiguous industry that tabloid journalists referred to the book as a manual.
Buy Fullalove here: www.faber.co.uk/work/fullalove/9780571222858/
Read about Enquirer here: www.nationaltheatrescotland.com/content/default.asp?page=home_Enquirer
Read Deborah Orr on Enquirer here: www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/apr/13/deborah-orr-journalism-crisis-theatre
Yes! It's only 2 weeks in and already we can boast of a link to Bonnie 'Prince' Billy aka the fabulously hirsute and ridiculously talented musician, Will Oldham. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy was one of Gordon's favourite artists and in a neat twist of fate - Gordon's publisher, Faber, have published a book of of conversations with the singer which happens to include material by a GBT trustee, Phoebe Greenwood. We've not yet actually seen what's included by our trustee - as editions cost £150 (cmon Faber! send us one) - but we're still cock-a-hoop.
The prize and website are officially launched! Last night the GB Trust team went out to celebrate and raise a glass to Gordon. Here is trustee member, artist and Gordon's great friend Richard Clegg demonstrating that a bread basket is never just a bread basket:
Thank you to judge Deborah Orr for her article announcing the prize in last Saturday's Guardian newspaper
'Come July, it will be three years since the death of the writer, journalist and critic, Gordon Burn. He bequeathed to literature a body of work unique in English letters, rich in understanding of how the media shapes society, and is shaped by it, pushing relentlessly against boundaries that the literary world tends to present, conveniently and simplistically, as fixed.
Again and again, Burn alighted on subjects that illustrated, exactly, the ways in which humans resist the supposedly immutable boundaries of “non-fiction” and stray – sometimes gallop wildly - into fiction.
One of the most egregious of such common but little understood chimeras, was embodied in the great, unstoppable gush of fiction that rushed in like a torrent to fill the vacuum left by the unknown facts of Madeleine McCann’s abduction.
In his last work of “fiction”, Born Yesterday: The News As A Novel, Burn takes this headline-dominating “story”, along with a number of others from the summer of 2007, and renders them into a single and subtly brilliant tale, fitted together, as all who absorb the media fit such disparate information together in their minds, into something people call a “world view”
I can’t express how much I miss Gordon, and miss his unique sensibility. I crave his insights into the phone-hacking scandal, for example, especially as his 1997 novel, Fullalove, written as he covered the Rosemary West trial, remains the seminal text exploring the intellectual degradation and self-interested appeals to sentiment, that can befall a tabloid hack immersed in the ferreting out and reporting of human darkness.
In memory of Gordon, and in order to nurture spirit of his literary legacy, his publisher, Faber and Faber, in partnership with the Gordon Burn Trust and New Writing North (he was born and raised in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne) will next week launch a yearly literary prize that seeks to reward work that “challenges perceived notions of genre and makes us think again about just what it is, we are reading”. This year’s judges are novelist David Peace, writer and broadcaster Mark Lawson and myself.'
The Gordon Burn writing prize is a new £5000 award that will be launched on April 17th at this year’s London Book Fair. To find out more please contact Claire Malcolm at New Writing North, contacts are in the ‘prize’ section
The spirit of Born Yesterday lives on! As part of Arts Council England and the BBC’s new digital arts project - The Space – Leicester-based Vanilla Galleries are launching The News. The News will run from May 1st to 7th and is a live studio concept which offers audiences the opportunity to experience an exciting spontaneous programme of work based upon artists' reaction to, and interpretation of, 'the effects of 24 hour global news.' This is an experimental visual arts project which will be broadcast using the latest online communication technologies. http://thenews.vg/