The Foundation

Burgess Centenary

We celebrated the centenary of Anthony Burgess’s birth in 2017. Find out more here about our programme of activities and publications.

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Burgess Centenary:

Anthony Burgess, who was born in 1917 and died in 1993, was a writer and composer who is regarded as one of the leading novelists of the twentieth century. His works are widely read all over the world.

Anthony Burgess was a cultural figure whose work addresses many of the important issues of his time, including censorship, multi-culturalism, individual freedom and sexual liberation.

Burgess would have celebrated his 100th birthday on 25 February 2017. The International Anthony Burgess Foundation organised events which took place throughout 2017.

The Burgess Foundation has worked with BBC Radio 3 to create a season of Burgess-themed programmes. One of the highlights was the first ever radio production of Burgess’s drama, Oedipus the King, starring Christopher Eccleston, Fiona Shaw and Don Warrington. The music from the original 1972 theatre production, composed by Stanley Silverman, was restored from manuscripts in the Foundation’s archive. The production included chants written by Burgess in an invented language. Oedipus the King was broadcast on Radio 3 on Sunday 26 February 2017.

The composer Raymond Yiu wrote a new song cycle for male voice and orchestra, based on six poems by Anthony Burgess. This was performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the baritone Roderick Williams.

On 23 February the Observer/Anthony Burgess Prizes for Arts Journalism were awarded in London, with Susan Sheahan winning the £3000 prize for best essay. The prizes celebrate Burgess’s work as a literary journalist and his 30-year involvement with the Observer newspaper. This year’s judges are Sarah Donaldson, Lara Feigel, Kevin Jackson, Robert McCrum and Andrew Biswell.

From 3 July to 5 July, the Burgess Foundation held a centenary conference, under the title ‘Anthony Burgess: Life, Work, Reputation’. This conference featured new discussion and analysis of Burgess’s life and work, and it included the opportunity to visit some of the places described in his autobiography, Little Wilson and Big God. Further information can be found HERE.

One other new initiative is the Anthony Burgess Memories Project. The Foundation is inviting people who knew Burgess personally, or who met him in any context, to write down their recollections. We are also collecting photographs, music and audio recordings. This material is a valuable storehouse of biographical information, and we will publish memories from the project on our website throughout 2017. The project will extend beyond 2017, and it promises to cast fresh light on Anthony Burgess’s life and work, from a variety of viewpoints.

The International Anthony Burgess Foundation is an educational charity based in Manchester, where Burgess was born and grew up.

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