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?

Welcome to the Observer / Burgess prize, a competition open to anyone writing in English. Please note: entries are now closed. The competition will reopen in Spring 2019. Do browse these pages about the Prize so you’re ready for next year – and have a look at this year’s winners here.

Entrants to the prize must submit a previously unpublished review of up to 800 words on new work on the arts.

Maybe you’re a journalist, critic or blogger – or indeed, none of those. All we ask is you impress us with your best work. Our judges are waiting to receive your entry.

Anthony Burgess had a wide range of interests, so there is no restriction on the artform featured in your review. The winning piece could be about a book, film, concert, exhibition, album or TV show, or anything else that offers the opportunity to write a lively and thoughtful piece.

Recent winners have written on photography, opera – and Justin Bieber. See the 2019 winners here.

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 30th November 2018. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Guardian Media Group headquarters at King’s Place, a stone’s throw from King’s Cross in London.

The prizes are presented by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and The ObserverSee The Observer’s coverage of the Observer / Burgess prize here.

Meet the judges

The panel of judges waiting to be inspired by your entry.

This year, our judges are:

Sarah Donaldson, arts editor of The Observer, and

Will Carr, deputy director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation

alongside special guest judge Bernardine Evaristo MBE.

Bernardine Evaristo is an award-winning author of eight books of fiction and verse fiction that explore aspects of the African diaspora: past, present, real, imagined. She is also a literary critic and Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London. She founded the Brunel International African Poetry Prize and is Vice Chair of the Royal Society of Literature.

Please note: entries are now closed. The competition will reopen in Spring 2019.


Click here for The Ink Trade, a brand new collection of Anthony Burgess journalism and essays