The International Anthony Burgess Foundation and the Observer were delighted to announce the winners of the 2012 Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism at a special event at King’s Place, London on Wednesday 20 February.
Robert McCrum (Associate Editor, the Observer) and Andrew Biswell (Director, International Anthony Burgess Foundation) welcomed a large and convivial crowd to celebrate the inaugural year of the prize, which aims to encourage excellent new writing about arts and culture.
Shaun Lyon was the winner, receiving £2000. The novelist Scarlett Thomas, one of the judging panel, presented the award, describing Shaun’s writing as lively, accomplished and the work of someone with a clear future as a writer on culture. His piece ‘An Unlikely Arena’, about the Last Night Of The Proms, can be read here. The piece also appears in the Observer edition of 24 February 2013.
James Cahill received a special commendation for his piece ‘From Harold Pinter to the Unnameable: An Interview With Justin Mortimer’, which can be read here.
Both received a copy of A Clockwork Orange: The Restored Text, and trophies based on the ‘Critic Of The Year’ award won by Anthony Burgess in 1979 (though the new ones are less battered and nicotine-stained). This was one of the only prizes ever won by Burgess in the UK.
As part of the event we launched the 2013 prize, which again offers £2000 for a new piece of writing on the arts. The panel of judges this year will be chaired by the writer and broadcaster Jonathan Meades. Full details and information about how to enter are here.
(L-R: Scarlett Thomas, Kamila Shamsie, Robert McCrum, Shaun Lyon (winner), Andrew Biswell, James Cahill (special commendation), Will Carr, with Anthony Burgess in the background. Picture: Andy Hall/The Observer)