The Burgess Prize

The Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism

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‘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 is the shortlist for the 2021 Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts, our annual prize for the best new writing about the arts.

In June last year, we asked for your best reviews, and you did not disappoint. Despite unparalleled disruption to arts and culture, we received more entries than ever and the standard was exceptionally high.

It is now time to announce the shortlist for the 2021 competition. See below.

The overall winner and two runners-up will be announced at the prize ceremony, broadcast online for the first time. This will take place at 7pm GMT on Thursday 11 March 2021 on YouTube and Facebook (with updates also at this Facebook event page).

The first prize is £3,000 and the winning piece will be published in the print edition of the Observer New Review and online at Two runners-up will also receive £500 each and have their work published online.

The shortlist

The shortlist for the 2021 Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism is:

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

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 shortlisted writers.