Andrew Biswell: How to read Earthly Powers ‘The ideal reader of my books,’ Anthony Burgess told John Cullinan of the Paris Review in 1973, ‘is a lapsed Catholic and failed musician, short-sighted, colour-blind, auditorily biased, who has read the books that I have read. He should also be about my age.’ Readers who lack those […]

Anthony Burgess was fascinated by the life and work of Sigmund Freud. As a writer and composer, he often returned to the founder of modern psychoanalysis in his creative works. The list begins with his stage adaptation of Oedipus the King in 1972 (a consciously Freudian work). This was accompanied by the novel MF, which […]

Born in 1917, Anthony Burgess would have celebrated his 103rd birthday on 25 February 2020. But what did he think the twenty-first century would be like? It is possible to offer an answer to this question, thanks to a newly-discovered document from the archive. Back in the mists of 1984, the year when Anthony Burgess […]

James Joyce was born on 2 February 1882. This became a date of great importance to Anthony Burgess, who began writing Here Comes Everybody, the first of his critical books about Joyce, on 2 February 1964. Following the writing plan he had drawn up in advance, Burgess typed the final page of Here Comes Everybody […]

  In 1970 Anthony Burgess settled with his wife, Liana, and their son, Paolo Andrea, in Bracciano, about 45 kilometres (28 miles) north-west of Rome. A fifteenth-century house on the Piazza Padella became the family’s main home and the new centre of Burgess’s professional life. The family’s years in Bracciano are particularly well documented, as […]

ONE: He received a fan letter from Umberto Eco. They met when Burgess was living in Rome in the early 1970s. Eco, who worked as a radio producer, interviewed Burgess in connection with Joysprick, a book about the language of James Joyce. Later on, Burgess wrote favourable reviews of a number of Eco’s books, including The […]

Our annual prizes for arts journalism have been announced! The winner of the £3000 prize was Jason Watkins, for his review of Pigspurt’s Daughter at the Holbeck Underground Ballroom in Leeds, which is a one-woman performance piece by Daisy Campbell about her late father, the celebrated provocateur and playwright Ken Campbell. Jason’s vivid writing brings to life […]

Our £3000 journalism prize is to be awarded at a ceremony to be hosted in London by the Observer newspaper, on Wednesday 20 February 2019. The International Anthony Burgess Foundation announces the shortlist for the Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism. Now in its seventh year, the £3000 prize is for lively and thought-provoking reviews […]

Anthony Burgess wrote about Christmas in various contexts. He recalls in Little Wilson and Big God that one of his earliest published short stories was ‘The Great Christmas Train Robbery’. In the late 1960s he was commissioned to make an English translation of The Childhood of Christ by Hector Berlioz (revived as a big-budget ITV […]