The Burgess Prize

The Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism

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The Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism:

Who can enter?

The 2024 Observer / Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism is now open entries.

This is a review writing competition with a prize fund of £4,000 and a chance to be published in the Observer newspaper.

Maybe you’re a journalist, critic or blogger – or none of those. All we ask is you impress us with your best work. Your entry should be a previously unpublished review of up to 800 words on new work in the arts.

We welcome entries from anywhere in the world, but entries should be in English.

What do I write?

Anthony Burgess wrote for the Observer for more than thirty years, and this prize celebrates his connection with the newspaper. He had a wide range of interests, so there is no restriction on the artform featured in your review.

The winning piece could be about an album, book, concert, exhibition, film, live stream, social media entertainment, or television show, or anything else that offers the opportunity to write a lively and thoughtful piece.

We define “new work” in the arts as anything that has happened since 1st January 2023, although some flexibility with that date is fine. The arts world has changed beyond recognition since last year, and we expect to see some entries focusing on the online world of lockdown entertainment.

For examples of the kind of thing we would like to see, here are pieces by previous winners; and here are the Culture pages on the Guardian / Observer website.

What's the prize?

You could win a first prize of £3,000 and have your work published in the Observer.

Two runners-up will also receive £500 each.

Entries must be received by 11.59pm on 29th February 2024. The judges you are aiming to impress are the Observer’s art critic Laura Cumming, arts editor of the Observer Sarah Donaldson, and Andrew Biswell, director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and author of The Real Life of Anthony Burgess.

Expect a shortlist announcement after Easter next year, with the winner being announced at an awards ceremony in May 2024. The prizes are presented by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and the Observer

How do I enter?

Entering the Observer / Burgess Prize is easy.

You can enter via an online form on our entry page. This will ask you to upload your review, and then direct you to Paypal where your entry fee of £10 will be taken.

You can also enter by post, and we also offer a limited number of subsidised entries, information for which is also on the entry page.

We judge the prize anonymously. Please do not write your name or contact details on your review: just fill in your details on the entry form. If you forget, don’t worry: we’ll anonymise it anyway.

You can enter as many times as you wish, as long as entries are paid for. Good luck – and get reviewing!

“A model for beginners, and old hacks alike.” New Statesman Read THE INK TRADE, Anthony Burgess’s collection of journalism and essays >