The Burgess Prize

The Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism

in this section

Last year’s result:

‘The title of 'journalist' is probably very noble, but I lay no real claim to it. I am, I think, a novelist and a musical composer manqué: I make no other pretensions …’ Anthony Burgess

Here are the winners of the 2021 Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts, our annual prize for the best new writing about the arts.

Despite unparalleled disruption to arts and culture, we received more entries than ever and the standard was exceptionally high. The overall winner and two runners-up were announced in an online ceremony on 11 March 2021.

The first prize was £3,000 and the winning piece was published in the print edition of the Observer New Review and online at theguardian.com. Two runners-up also received £500 each and had their work published online.


The winners

The winners of the 2021 Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism were:

Runner up:
Rachel Pronger – Promising Young Woman, directed by Emerald Fennell

Runner up:
James Waddell – The Duchess of Malfi at the Almeida Theatre and online

Winner:
Harry Strawson – In My Room (Miu Miu Women’s Tales #20), directed by Mati Diop

A huge thanks to our judges, Miranda Sawyer and Sarah Donaldson at the Observer, and Will Carr at the Burgess Foundation. They enjoyed reading your entries, and congratulations to the winning writers.


The shortlist

For reference, the shortlist was announced in February 2021:

Michael Amherst – One Foot in the Grave, released on BritBox

Milo Nesbitt – Electronic: from Kraftwerk to the Chemical Brothers at the Design Museum

Emilia Ong – Andy Warhol at Tate Modern

Rachel Pronger – Promising Young Woman, directed by Emerald Fennell

Harry Strawson – In My Room (Miu Miu Women’s Tales #20), directed by Mati Diop

James Waddell – The Duchess of Malfi at the Almeida Theatre and online