Longlist announced for Gordon Burn Prize 2015

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The longlist is announced today for the Gordon Burn Prize 2015, which champions a fresh, fearless approach to writing.

The 13-strong longlist sees books by Martin Amis and Hilary Mantel alongside Ben Lerner’s 10.04, Sarah Thornton’s 33 Artists in 3 Acts and In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile, by Dan Davies.

In both fiction and non-fiction works, judges author Roddy Doyle, actress Maxine Peake, journalist Suzanne Moore, artist Gavin Turk and author Doug Johnstone are seeking writing that embodies the spirit and sensibility of Gordon Burn’s own bold and innovative literary methods.

Such writing takes many forms, as the wide-ranging longlist testifies. 136 books were submitted for consideration by UK and US publishers; journalism and biography feature on the list along with fiction, short story collections and a graphic novel.

Gordon Burn was a writer for whom no subject or character was beyond exploration, and whose approach often toyed with the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction. Peter Sutcliffe, Alma Cogan, Damien Hirst, Margaret Thatcher, and even Gordon Burn himself: Burn loved to take characters already burnished in the celebrity spotlight and explore the darkness beneath. His work also reflects a wide range of interests including social history, sport, true crime, music, celebrity and art.

The Gordon Burn Prize launched in 2012 and is a partnership between New Writing North, the Gordon Burn Trust and Faber & Faber, publishers of Gordon’s work. Previous winners of the award include Benjamin Myers for Pig Iron in 2013; and Paul Kingsnorth for The Wake in 2014.   

The winner of the Gordon Burn Prize 2015 will receive a cheque for £5,000, plus the option of a three-month writing retreat in Gordon Burn’s cottage in the Scottish Borders. The winner will be awarded on 9 October at Durham Book Festival. The shortlist is to be announced in August.

“From graphic novels and stunning short story collections to penetrating non-fiction and a number of books that test the borders of these definitions, the 2015 longlist is an exciting list," said New Writing North Chief Executive Claire Malcolm. "The selected books highlight many areas of interest that Gordon’s work covered from crime and art to history and are all explored in unique and compelling ways.” 

“The titles on this year’s longlist were arrived at from submissions of extraordinary variety and high quality." added Carol Gorner, founder of the Gordon Burn Trust. "We are pleased for our amazing judges that they have such an incredible list to look forward to, but don’t envy them having to select a shortlist, let alone a winner. Each one of these represents a remarkable achievement by their author and deserves to be celebrated and recognised.” 

Angus Cargill, Editorial Director, Faber & Faber, said: “The longlist is such a great showcase for the prize, set up in memory of Gordon. Sharing the fearlessness, integrity and cross genre styles and interests of Gordon’s work, it includes books and writers drawing on the past while interrogating the present. It’s a fascinating list and we can’t wait to see what the judges do next.” 

The full longlist for the Gordon Burn Prize 2015 is:

Martin Amis: The Zone of Interest (Vintage)
Dan Davies: In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile (Quercus)
Sam Delaney: Mad Men and Bad Men: What Happened when British Politics met Advertising (Faber and Faber)
Paul Ewen: Francis Plug: How To Be A Public Author (Galley Beggar Press)
Honor Gavin: Midland (Penned in the Margins)
Romesh Guneskera: Noon Tide Toll (Granta Books)
Richard King: Original Rockers (Faber and Faber)
Ben Lerner: 10.04 (Granta Books)
Hilary Mantel: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories (Fourth Estate)
Scott McCloud: The Sculptor (Self Made Hero)
Peter Pomerantsev: Nothing is True and Everything is Possible (Faber and Faber)
Simon Rich: Spoiled Brats (Serpent’s Tail)
Sarah Thornton: 33 Artists in 3 Acts (Granta Books)

Click here to read the full press release.