We reveal a gruesome inspiration behind Anthony Burgess’s novel Earthly Powers: the Jonestown suicide cult leader Jim Jones. One of the pivotal events in Earthly Powers is the establishment and violent dissolution of Godfrey Manning’s religious cult, known as the ‘Children of God’. Although this cult seems to be well ingrained in the narrative of […]

10 June 2020 is the fiftieth anniversary of Burgess’s famous lecture, ‘Obscenity and the Arts’, which was delivered to a large audience at the University of Malta in Valletta. This provides an opportunity for us to look back on the complex story of Burgess’s lecture and the events which provoked it. In November 1968, Burgess […]

When Anthony Burgess moved to Malaya, he needed to learn the language. Take a look at the books that helped his studies, and find out how we’re preserving those books. On 5 August 1954, Burgess set sail from Southampton with his first wife, Lynne, and their cat, Lalage, ready to begin a new life as […]

One of the most fascinating, yet underexplored, areas of the Burgess Foundation’s archive is its object collection. The collection consists of furniture, musical instruments, typewriters, crockery, glassware, awards, artwork, ornaments, and other collectibles that belonged to Burgess and his family and were gathered throughout their travels in Europe, Malaysia, and America. Many individual pieces are […]

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Anthony Burgess’s Earthly Powers, we look at Burgess’s attitude towards Somerset Maugham. When Anthony Burgess began his career as a novelist, inspired by his experience of teaching English in colonial Malaya, his goal was to become a sort of Somerset Maugham figure. In particular, he wanted to emulate Maugham’s […]

Although A Clockwork Orange is Anthony Burgess’s best-known novel, many readers regard Earthly Powers as his masterpiece. When the novel was first published in October 1980, Burgess received a telegram from his French translator, who wrote: ‘It is your Ulysses.’ Unlike most of Burgess’s novels, which he wrote in the space of a few months, […]

Raymond Yiu, composer of the song cycle The World Was Once All Miracle based on Anthony Burgess’s poems, describes his love for This Man and Music in this Q&A, exclusive to the Burgess Foundation and Manchester University Press. Tell us how you first came to Anthony Burgess’s This Man and Music. What impression did it […]

A topical blogpost for Easter. By Will Carr.

In 2013, the curators of the exhibition David Bowie Is revealed a list of the singer’s 100 favourite books. Among the titles that Bowie held dear are novels, political books, musical biographies and comic books, all of which reveal much about his preoccupations and the influences on his own creative output. Two of Anthony Burgess’s […]

  In 1968, Anthony Burgess sold his properties in Chiswick and Etchingham and moved to Malta. The journey to his new home was undertaken by road, in a Bedford Dormobile driven by his new wife, Liana. As they drove south across Europe, Burgess sat in the back of the motor-caravan with his typewriter. Later he […]