The International Anthony Burgess Foundation and the Observer newspaper are delighted to announce the winners of the latest Observer / Anthony Burgess Prizes for Arts Journalism, who were unveiled at a special event at King’s Place, London on Thursday 23 February.
Judges Robert McCrum (Associate Editor), Sarah Donaldson (Arts Editor) and Andrew Biswell (Director, International Anthony Burgess Foundation) welcomed a storm-buffeted but undaunted crowd to the awards ceremony. The prize, for the best unpublished arts and culture review, is in its fifth year and received entries from all around the world on a range of subjects wide enough to rival that of Anthony Burgess’s own writing.
The winner was Susan Sheahan, whose subject was the exhibition Weather Man by Evgenia Arbugaeva at the Photographers’ Gallery, London. Th exhibition was inspired by the solitary life of a meteorologist living on a remote peninsular in northern Russia, and the presentation of Arbugaeva’s images of day-to-day life in unique surroundings were given a sensitive and insightful treatment.
The runners up, each winning £500, were Liam O’Brien for his sharp and funny piece on Justin Bieber’s Purpose World Tour; and Giles Masters for his review of The Nose by Shostakovich at the Royal Opera House.
We were delighted this year to present the prize in partnership with the Free Word Centre, who will commission the winners to produce new writing about the arts, supported by a European travel grant to undertake research.
All the writers received replica trophies of the ‘Critic of the Year’ award presented to Anthony Burgess in 1979 by Margaret Thatcher, one of the few prizes won by Burgess in the UK.
The winning entries are published by the Observer on 25 February, the centenary of Anthony Burgess’s birth.