The International Anthony Burgess Foundation

Booklaunch: Psychic Spiders! with Hic Dragones

Join Hic Dragones for the launch of Toby Stone‘s phenomenal new novel, Psychic Spiders! George is an unusual spider. Born with the ability to control human thoughts, he has a unique insight into the human psyche. And he doesn’t like what he sees. It’s time to deal with the problem. George’s crusade to save arachnidkind takes him on a warped journey through the city, to the one place where he can make his voice heard – the local television station. But George’s quest for media domination brings him up against an array of unlikely opponents: Igor, a troubled man long abandoned to a nursing home by his angry daughter; Tobias, a sensitive spider with a fondness for Countdown; Captain Ahab, a man with no past (that he can remember, anyway). And it’s only a matter of time before George’s activities catch the attention of The Web – a shadowy organisation whose furry legs stretch around the globe. Will George succeed? Will humanity survive? Will television ever be the same again? The evening will feature readings from the author, a free wine reception and the chance to win prizes. Book your free place here



Concert: Distractfold featuring Wet Ink

Distractfold are delighted to present a joint concert with the US based ensemble Wet Ink. Making their UK début tonight in a trio format (Josh Modney/Sam Pluta/Eric Wubbels), Wet Ink will perform Eric Wubbels’s the children of fire come looking for fire and a new work by Sam Pluta for violin, piano, and live electronics. In addition, Distractfold will present the following works: Qasid 3 for clarinet, viola and piano by José María Sánchez-Verdú (SPAIN/DE); Mauricio Pauly‘s (COSTA RICA/UK) Apartamento Polsen Apartamento Peterson (2012) for amplified trio (bass clarinet, cello and piano); Eric Wubbels‘ (USA) new work for amplified ensemble (clarinet, violin, viola, cello and percussion) and Switches for amplified viola and drum set by Sam Pluta (USA). Tickets available here and visit for more information.



Discussion: Dystopias with Steven Fielding

We’re pleased to welcome political historian and broadcaster Steven Fielding to the Engine House, where he’ll be discussing the evolution of dystopian visions from the postwar era to the present day. Using 1984 as a starting point and ending with an examination of populist conspiracies such as V for Vendetta, Steven will reveal how varying dystopian landscapes reflect wider contemporary political changes.  Steven is Professor of Political History  at the University of Nottingham. His book A State of Play: British Politics on Screen, Stage and Page, from Anthony Trollope to The Thick of It was published by Bloomsbury in 2014. Steven has commented on most aspects of British contemporary politics and modern political history for Sky News, Channel 4 News, Radio 5, the Guardian, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and many other international publications . His most recent Radio 4 documentary Very British Dystopias is available on the BBC Website. Contact [email protected] to reserve your place.



Words for Music Concert Series: Scenes from a Novel

The Burgess Foundation and new music ensemble Psappha are collaborating for a series of performances in which music takes inspiration from words. Featuring pieces by Kurtág, Stravinsky and Walton, the programme also includes three brand new commissions from contemporary composers drawing on material from the Burgess Foundation collection.  Tonight’s opening concert features György Kurtág’s Scenes from a Novel, musical settings of 14 texts by the Russian writer Rimma Dalos. Enhancing the text’s exploration of loneliness, experience and memory will be films of movement and dance projected onto the walls of the venue. David Fennessy’s Piano Trio – Music for the pauses in a conversation between John Cage and Morton Feldman features silences punctuated by musical material. The closing piece from Icelandic composer Halldór Smárason is the first in a series of completely new commissions from one of three composers in residence at the Burgess Foundation. Using archive video footage from one of Burgess’s numerous TV interviews as his stimulus, Smárason creates unity by echoing acoustic music and quotes from the interview throughout the work. Tickets available from Soprano, Gillian Keith. Director, Elaine Tyler Hall. See future listings for other performances in the series (4th Feb, The Soldier’s Tale / 18th Mar, Facade Entertainment).



Burroughs at 100 Part Two: Everything is permitted

The second day of this Burroughs weekend features a series of Burroughs’ inspired talks, discussions and presentations to celebrate the author’s 100th anniversary. A number of special guest speakers including Oliver Harris, Michael Horovitz, Andrew Biswell, John Sears, Patricia Allmer, Ken Hollings and Dik Jarmen have been invited to take part. All are recognised internationally for their work and connection to Burroughs’ creative legacy in relation to artmaking, films, photography, poetry, literature, live performance and music making. Presentations throughout the day include The Nova Machine Exploded, or: How to Edit the Cut-Up Trilogy with Oliver Harris, Curating Taking Shots: The Photography of William S Burroughswith Dr Patricia Allmer, Burroughs and his Biographers (roundtable), Animating Burroughs: Pathos in Plasticine with Dik Jarmen and Invading Present Time: The Politics of Simulation with Ken Hollings. This session will also include screenings of selected cut-up films. The event concludes at 6pm; last entry at 5.15pm. Click here to purchase tickets.



Burroughs at 100 Part One: Nothing is True

Join us for an evening of spoken word, poetry, live experimental music and audio visual cut up performances celebrating William Burroughs’ 100th year, featuring live performances from CP Lee, Michael Horovitz and Vanessa Vie, Lauren Bolger and David McLean, Ruaridh Law (TVO /Broken20 audio/visual label) and Soft Machines featuring Koi Karp.  CP Lee presents a live spoken word performance , starting with a banishing ritual written by William Burroughs that segues to an introduction of the life and work of Richard ‘Lord ‘ Buckley. Michael Horovitz and Vanessa Vie will perform their own songs, poems and music alongside specially created musical scores based on William S Burroughs’ texts. Ruaridh Law/TVO presents a performance piece utilising turntables, laptop and electronic instruments, using Burroughs’ own voice and readings of his work, followed by a live performance of Soft Machines Part 2 with Koi Karp , an audio visual performance exploring the ritualistic, sexual and esoteric in Burroughs’ work. Presented by 100 Forbidden Worlds in partnership with Festival of Ideas Rusholme and the University of Manchester Beat Studies Network. Click here to purchase tickets.



Tour: Anthony Burgess and Literary Manchester

This is a tour laced with literary tales of an entertaining and informative nature covering three centuries of the written word in Manchester. With a special focus on Anthony Burgess, the tour also includes quotes and stories involving Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, Friedrich Engels, Dodie Smith, Maisie Mosco, JB Priestley, Howard Spring, David Constantine and John Cooper Clarke. The tour finishes at the International Burgess Foundation on Cambridge Street with a tour of the building and a view of the archives. Tours start at the war memorial in St Ann’s Square and last approx. 2hrs. Visit or @jonathschofield to find out more, and to book your place.



Tour: Unlocking the Anthony Burgess Archive

Take a look inside the unique and personal collection of books, original manuscripts, compositions, photographs, furniture, paintings, drawings and correspondence with contemporary writers and artists including Stanley Kubrick, Graham Greene and Angela Carter, all amassed by Burgess during his rich and varied lifetime. Join us as we take you on a journey which begins with stories of Burgess’s early life in Manchester, to Gibraltar during the Second World War and the final days of colonialism in Malaysia, onto an illustrious international career. We’ll show you some of the highlights of Burgess’s private collections and reveal little-known aspects of the writer’s life along the way. Tours are free and last for approx. 1 hour; only a small number of places are available. Contact [email protected] to reserve your place.



Concert: Khymerikal – Star Songs

Contemporary classical ensemble Khymerikal returns to the International Anthony Burgess Foundation with a programme of twentieth and twenty-first century music, featuring a première of Star Songs by Royal Academy of Music alumni, Jonathan Woolgar. Other works include Ravel’s violin and cello sonata, Contrasts by Béla Bartòk and Four Songs by André Previn. Tickets available at



In conversation: Maggie Gee

The Manchester Writing School at MMU and the International Anthony Burgess Foundation are delighted to welcome Maggie Gee to the Engine House. Maggie has written 12 novels, including The White Family (shortlisted for the Orange and the International Impac prizes), The Ice PeopleMy Cleaner and My Driver (2009), an acclaimed writer’s memoir, My Animal Life, and a collection of stories, The Blue. She is Vice-President of the UK’s Royal Society of Literature, Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and there has been an international conference about her work at St Andrew’s University. Her latest novel, Virginia Woolf in Manhattan, is a comedy that brings the late author back to life in the 21st century. Her writing has been described by Doris Lessing as, “‘worldly, witty, enjoyable, impressive”. Maggie will be reading from her work, answering questions from the audience, and in conversation with MMU’s Gregory Norminton. The evening will open with short readings of original work by two MMU MA Creative Writing students. Drinks will be available to purchase from the bar, and there’ll be a special Blackwell’s bookstall and signing after the event. Contact [email protected] to reserve seats. Supported by the MMU Institute of Humanities and Social Science Research and Macdonald Hotels and Resorts.