The International Anthony Burgess Foundation

The Observer / Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism

Anthony Burgess

£2000 Prize

  • Entries now closed for 2015.

We’re looking for the best, previously unpublished writing on new work in the arts. If you’re a journalist, critic, blogger or unpublished writer interested in examining the contemporary arts, then read on for your chance to win £2000 and the opportunity to have your work published in print and online versions of the Observer, and on the International Anthony Burgess Foundation website.

Prize details, and how to enter:

in association with The Observer

The £2000 Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism moves into a fourth year, continuing to champion the very best of new writing about the arts.

Anthony Burgess was one of the great writers of the twentieth century, his extraordinary output including novels, poems, plays, musical compositions, linguistic studies, literary criticism and much more. He is of course best known for his novel A Clockwork Orange and the Booker-shortlisted Earthly Powers, but he wrote thirty-three other novels, twenty-five works of non-fiction, two volumes of autobiography, three symphonies, more than 150 other musical works - and for more than thirty years was a hugely successful literary journalist.

‘The title of journalist is probably very noble, but I lay no real claim to it. I am, I think, a novelist and a musical composer manqué: I make no other pretensions…’ – Anthony Burgess, 1968

Despite this disingenuous claim, Anthony Burgess was a hugely prolific contributor to newspapers. Burgess’s career as a reviewer and cultural commentator began when he became a full-time writer in 1959. Until his death in 1993 he wrote many articles and reviews for newspapers and periodicals around the world, including the Yorkshire Post, the New York Times, Playboy, Harper’s, Le Monde, Corriere della Serra – and perhaps most importantly the Observer, for which he wrote a weekly review for many decades and habitually referred to as ‘my paper’. His writing was characteristically provocative and informative, entertaining and extravagant, always readable, never dull, and extraordinary in its range, erudition and energy.

And it is these qualities that the judges for this year’s Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism are looking for: celebrating the best and liveliest talent in arts journalism, and writers who bring a keen eye to the best of contemporary culture whether in the worlds of theatre, film, music, TV, art or books. As we look for next year's winners, we’re excited to read the kind of crackling, exuberant, erudite, witty and imaginative writing that characterised Anthony Burgess’s own work.

The judges for this year’s prize will be Kate Mosse, Alexandra Harris and Ruth Scurr, with Robert McCrum from the Observer newspaper and Will Carr from the International Anthony Burgess Foundation. You can read more about the judges here.

More about Burgess’s journalism is here, and in the Guardian here.

You can read pieces by last year’s winner, Shahidha Bari, as well as winners and runners up from previous years here.