The Gordon Burn Prize

The Gordon Burn Prize recognises literature that is forward-thinking and fearless in its ambition and execution, often playing with style, pushing boundaries, crossing genres or challenging readers’ expectations.

Founded in 2012 by New Writing North, Faber & Faber and the Gordon Burn Trust, the Gordon Burn Prize has built a reputation for identifying and celebrating brilliant books that often find their readers outside the mainstream.

The 2025 prize will be awarded in March 2025 in Gordon Burn’s home city, Newcastle upon Tyne, with support from Newcastle University and NCLA, the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts.

The prize remembers the writer Gordon Burn who died in 2009, seeking to celebrate those who follow in his footsteps. A journalist and author of ten books, Burn’s work includes the novels Alma Cogan and Fullalove and non-fiction titles Pocket Money: Inside the World of Snooker and Happy Like Murderers: The Story of Fred and Rosemary West.

Like Gordon Burn’s own work, the prize is open to a diverse range of themes and perspectives drawn from the breadth of today’s cultural and social concerns. The judges seek work that shows an affinity with the spirit and sensibility of Gordon’s literary methods: novels which dare to enter history and interrogate the past; writers of non-fiction brave enough to recast characters and historical events to create a new and vivid reality.

The Gordon Burn Prize 2025 will be awarded in March 2025. 

Kathryn Scanlan
Winner 23/24

Kathryn Scanlan’s Kick the Latch vividly captures the arc of one woman’s life at the racetrack – the flat land and ramshackle backstretch; the bad feelings and friction; the winner’s circle and the racetrack bar; the fancy suits and fancy boots; and the ‘particular language’ of ‘grooms, jockeys, trainers, racing secretaries, stewards, pony people, hotwalkers, everybody’ – with economy and integrity.

Kathryn Scanlan

About the prize

The Gordon Burn Prize was launched by New Writing North, Faber & Faber and the Gordon Burn Trust in 2012 and first awarded in 2013 to Benjamin Myers. For ten years, the prize was awarded as part of Durham Book Festival. From 2023, the prize is sponsored by Newcastle University. The Gordon Burn Prize 2023-24 will be announced at Newcastle’s Northern Stage in March 2024. The new sponsorship from Newcastle University also means the prize fund has doubled to £10,000.

The Gordon Burn Prize is open to published fiction and non-fiction books written in the English language. The winning writer receives £10,000 and is offered the opportunity to undertake a writing retreat of up to three months at Gordon Burn’s cottage in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders.

Photos from the Gordon Burn Prize 202/24, celebrating our winner Kathryn Scanlan for Kick the Latch