ABBA ABBA is one of Anthony Burgess’s most inventive works, blending historical fiction, poetry and translation into a novel which celebrates John Keats and the sonnet form. Set in Rome during the winter of 1820-21, the first part of ABBA ABBA recounts Keats’s final weeks and his eventual death from tuberculosis in a house on […]

Beard’s Roman Women is an odd book. The title, changed by the American publisher from Rome in the Rain, seems to suggest a historical novel, set in the Roman Empire. The text is partnered with strange photographs of ghostly Roman monuments, reflected in puddles and in glass. The story is clearly autobiographical yet is told […]

The Irwell Edition of the Works of Anthony Burgess, published in hardback by Manchester University Press, is a new series which aims to bring all of Burgess’s novels and non-fiction books back into print. Each volume contains an editor’s introduction, a newly edited text, extensive notes and annotations, plus previously unpublished materials drawn from the […]

The Irwell Edition of the Works of Anthony Burgess, published in hardback by Manchester University Press, is a new series which aims to bring all of Burgess’s novels and non-fiction books back into print. Each volume contains an editor’s introduction, a newly edited text, extensive notes and annotations, plus previously unpublished materials drawn from the […]

The third volume of the Irwell Edition of the Works of Anthony Burgess is his ‘lost’ science fiction novel. Puma, written by Burgess in 1976, but only published as part of his 1982 novel The End of the World News, is an apocalyptic story about a stray planet on a collision-course with Earth. This is […]

John Anthony Burgess Wilson was a genius when it came to inventing himself. Born into a working-class family in Manchester, he educated himself by reading widely, learned how to compose music, and got himself into university. He served in the British Army during the Second World War and afterwards became a school teacher in England. […]

In 1986 Anthony Burgess published The Pianoplayers, a ribald, mainly light-hearted story about the picaresque adventures of Ellen Henshaw and her dissolute pianoplayer father Billy in the silent cinemas and pubs of 1920s Manchester and Blackpool. Drawing heavily on the details of Burgess’s own early life, the novel balances its portrayal of the grim poverty […]

When visiting the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester, one of the first items of Burgess’s personal archive that can be seen is the Bösendorfer baby grand piano in the main hall. The piano, which is still used for performances and recitals today, was bought by Burgess from Harrods in 1991. The following video shows […]

Edward Pagram (1927-2007) illustrated two of Burgess’s novels: The Eve of St Venus (1964) and A Vision of Battlements (1965). The charcoal illustrations, some of which are included here, show the humorous side to Burgess’s novels, but Burgess had his doubts about them. ‘This turned out not to be a good idea,’ he writes, ‘the […]

The Irwell Edition of the Works of Anthony Burgess, published in hardback by Manchester University Press, is a new series which aims to bring all of Burgess’s novels and non-fiction books back into print. Each volume contains an editor’s introduction, a newly edited text, extensive notes and annotations, plus previously unpublished materials drawn from the […]