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 2025 Observer / Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism has now closed for entries. We have just announced the longlist.

Meanwhile, here is how the Prize works. This is a writing competition with a prize fund of £4,000 and an opportunity for your work to be published in the Observer newspaper.

The aim of the prize is to discover and celebrate new talent in arts journalism. All we ask is that you impress the panel of judges with your best work. Your entry should be a previously unpublished review of up to 800 words on new work in the arts, suitable for publication in the Observer.

We welcome entries from anywhere in the world, and you are welcome to enter more than once. All entries should be written 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, and there is no restriction on the artform featured in your review.

The winning piece could be about an album, book, concert, exhibition, film, audio drama, a piece of theatre or a TV show, or any other artwork which offers the opportunity to write a lively and thoughtful review.

‘New work’ in the arts means anything that has appeared since 1 January 2024, although we can be flexible about this date (for example, for a touring exhibition, or the revival of a stage play).

For examples of the kind of thing we would like to see, here are pieces by previous winners; and here are the Culture pages of 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 receive £500 each.

Entries must be received by 11.59pm on 28th February 2025. This year’s judges are Laura Cumming, the Observer’s art critic, Sarah Donaldson, Deputy Editor and Arts Editor of the Observer, and Andrew Biswell, director of the Anthony Burgess Foundation.

We will announce the shortlist after Easter, and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in May 2025. The prizes are awarded by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and the Observer

How do I enter?

You can enter via the online form on our entry page (currently offline). 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 enter by post, and we also offer a limited number of subsidised entries — further information is on the entry page.

All entries are judged anonymously. Please do not write your name or contact details on your review: simply 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.

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