For me, winning the first ever Anthony Burgess/Observer Prize in 2012 – as opposed to an award given in any other similarly esteemed writer’s name – had a uniquely personal resonance.
To someone who grew up in the north-west, without obvious advantages of birth or connection, and who went on to study and compose music, all the while harbouring a passion for literature and writing, it is hardly surprising that Burgess is the totemic figure of inspiration.
One would not attempt to lay claim to anything like the talent of course, or perhaps more crucially, the energy of the man (though who could?) but Burgess, almost uniquely, proved that it is possible to produce works of great artistic originality and power in two different disciplines.
To have been the recipient of a prize given in this great artist’s name will always be a source of enormous pride and gratitude.
Shaun Lyon, Observer/Burgess Prize Winner, 2012