An act of preservation: Andrew Hankinson on Gordon Burn’s Newcastle

  • Gordon Burn

  • Gordon Burn (centre back) with friends in Newcastle

  • Gordon in California (with hands in pockets)

  • Gordon Burn with his mother

On 7 March, the Gordon Burn Prize takes place in Newcastle for the first time. We commissioned Andrew Hankinson, North East writer and Gordon Burn Prize 2023-24 judge, to write a piece for The QT on Gordon Burn’s Newcastle and what it means for the city. Read Andrew’s article here.


Burn’s childhood home on Hamilton Street was demolished. His dad’s club, the Nova Castria, went. Rutherford Grammar School went. The brewery he grew up beside — ‘The earthy sweet smell of yeast from the Blue Star brewery’ he wrote in Alma Cogan — went. The coach station, his route into and out of the city, went. Morden Tower is still there, in a dingy alley used for rubbish from Stowell Street’s restaurants, locked up, out of use, decaying.

The erasure will continue, but having the Gordon Burn Prize in Newcastle is a minor act of preservation.


Read Andrew Hankinson’s full piece on Gordon Burn’s Newcastle, written for New Writing North and published by The QT. 

Andrew Hankinson, born in the North East and based in Newcastle, is an author, journalist and host of a podcast dedicated to non-fiction. His books include the award-winning You Could Do Something Amazing With Your Life (You Are Raoul Moat). He is a judge for Gordon Burn Prize 2023-24. 

Photos used with permission from the Gordon Burn Trust