Gordon Burn Prize 2014 opens for entries
New Writing North, in association with Faber & Faber and the Gordon Burn Trust, are delighted to announce the second year of The Gordon Burn Prize and to open the award to new submissions.
Gordon Burn was a writer for whom no subject or character was beyond fictionalising. Peter Sutcliffe, Alma Cogan, Duncan Edwards, George Best and Bobby Charlton, Damien Hirst, Gordon Brown, Margaret Thatcher, and even Gordon Burn himself: Burn loved to take characters already burnished in the celebrity spotlight and explore the darkness beneath. Sometimes he would choose fiction to do this, as in his Whitbread Prize-winning debut, Alma Cogan; other times – and sometimes within the same book – his methods and intentions were more ambiguous. The reader begins to question the very nature of what he is reading. Fiction? Non-fiction? Faction?
The Gordon Burn Prize seeks to reward a published title (fiction or non-fiction) written in the English language, which in the opinion of the judges most successfully represents the spirit and sensibility of Gordon’s literary methods: novels which dare to enter history and interrogate the past; non-fiction brave enough to recast characters and historical events to create a new and vivid reality. Literature which challenges perceived notions of genre and makes us think again about just what it is that we are reading.
The first Gordon Burn Prize, created to honour the literary legacy of the late Newcastle-born author, was announced at a special event in October at the 2013 Durham Book Festival. Durham-born author Ben Myers scooped the prize against strong competition from the other shortlisted authors with his novel Pig Iron, making it his second major literary prize of 2013, following his Northern Writers’ Award in June. As winner of the Gordon Burn Prize, he received a cheque for £5,000 and the opportunity to undertake a three-month writing retreat at Gordon’s own cottage in Berwickshire.
The Gordon Burn Prize is open to both fiction and non-fiction titles written in English that capture the spirit of Gordon’s writing. Gordon was a novelist undaunted by convention or genre, and the judges are looking for a writer with a similarly intrepid approach to their craft. Publishers are invited to enter novels which dare to enter history and interrogate the past, non-fiction brave enough to recast characters and historical events to create a new and vivid reality.
The book that wins the 2014 Gordon Burn Prize will be literature which challenges perceived notions of genre, a piece of writing that makes us think again about just what it is that we are reading. New Writing North are thrilled to be part of an award that not only honours an author as significant and challenging as Gordon Burn, but also encourages other authors to follow his example and push the boundaries of their work.
“The Gordon Burn Prize rewards innovative work across both fiction and non-fiction which best represents the spirit of Gordon’s prose,” said Faber Social creative director Lee Brackstone. “In a celebrity-saturated world, which is increasingly documented in monochrome and monotonous style, it is thrilling to be associated with a prize that embraces adventurous and unusual ways of engaging with the culture.”
The judges for the 2014 prize are artist Sarah Lucas, poet and novelist John Burnside, novelist Ben Myers and writer and performer Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh).
For more information and full details on how to enter, see www.newwritingnorth.com/text.html?id=gbp.