The Burgess Prize

The Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism

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The Journalism of Anthony Burgess:

Burgess the journalist

Burgess wrote thousands of articles for dozens of periodicals and journalism was an important part of his creative life.

As well as being a prolific novelist, Anthony Burgess was a hard-working journalist and literary critic. Following a mysterious physical collapse in 1959, Burgess was determined to make a living from writing, and it was clear that being a novelist alone was not the way to do this. Writing in 1984, he says, ‘the rewards of the serious novelist are meagre, and he needs journalism to augment his insufficient earnings from art’.

Although Burgess sometimes spoke about his journalistic output in financial terms, the care he took in crafting his reviews suggests that money was not the only consideration. Ever the professional, he wrote reviews and articles remained to a consistently high standard, and his ephemeral writing is characterised by the wit and invention that are familiar features of his novels. Burgess also enjoyed journalism as a forum where he could encounter different kinds of readers. His appealing voice as a newspaper critic led to invitations to appear on television and radio.

You can read Burgess’s essay on the art of journalism on our website HERE.

Carcanet have published two selections of Burgess’s essays: his essays on music — in a new book titled The Devil Prefers Mozart — and his literary essays, in a volume titled The Ink Trade. Alongside appraisals of contemporary writers, The Ink Trade includes some previously uncollected pieces, such as ‘Joyce as Novelist’, a long essay on his literary hero, James Joyce. These two collections provide a rewarding selection of Burgess’s best non-fiction writing.

You are invited to enter our writing competition with a prize fund of £4000. Click here for full details.

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