Join us for the 2020 Gordon Burn Prize where we will feature readings from the six shortlisted writers and announce this year’s winning book.
This year’s prize takes the form of a specially created film, which will include readings of the shortlist by the authors and a performance by Anthony Anaxagorou, a leading British poet and one of the prize judges.
The Gordon Burn Prize is our annual celebration of investigative, original and challenging books that ask questions of their subjects and provide insight into the rapidly shifting world around us. Founded in 2012, the prize is made in memory of the writer Gordon Burn whose novels and works of non-fiction made fearless and stylistically inventive journeys into some of the most controversial and complex areas of contemporary culture.
This year’s prize has been judged by the broadcaster Sali Hughes, poet Anthony Anaxagorou, novelist Richard T. Kelly and artist Rachel Howard.The author of the winning book will receive £5000 and the chance toundertake a writing retreat of up to three months at Gordon Burn’s cottage in the Scottish Borders.
Notes Made While Falling
Jenn Ashworth’s genre-bending memoir offers a distinctive and visceral perspective on creativity, spirituality, illness and the limits of fiction itself. InNotes Made While Falling, Ashworth calls for a redefinition of the creative work of thinking, writing, teaching and being, as she underlines the necessity of compassion and empathy when approaching vulnerability and fragility.
Buy Notes Made While Falling here.
Deborah Orr’s candid, insightful and vivid memoir of her early life is the story of both the town Motherwell and Orr’s mother Win. Told with Orr’s characteristic honesty and wit, Motherwell is an exploration of how the people we grow up with and the places we come from can shape our lives. It is as much a personal story as one of class and politics, and a voyage through the values and history of post-war Britain.
Buy Motherwell here.
Paul Mendez’s debut novel is an intersectional coming-of-age story following nineteen-year-old Jesse McCarthy as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities against the backdrop of a Jehovah’s Witness upbringing and the legacies of the Windrush generation. This is a bold examination of race, class, sexuality and freedom across different times and cultures.
Buy Rainbow Milk here.
This Is Not Propaganda
This Is Not Propaganda travels into the dark heart of the disinformation age to investigate Twitter revolutionaries, pop-up populists, Jihadi fanboys and more. Forty years after Pomerantsev’s dissident parents were pursuedby the KGB, he finds the need to return to today’s Russia. This fascinating book is an exploration of how we can reimagine our politics and ourselves at a time when truth has lost its foothold.
Buy This Is Not Propaganda here.
My Name Is Why
After a childhood in a foster family followed by several years in care homes, Norman Greenwood was given his birth certificate at seventeen and discovered that his name was actually Lemn Sissay. Sissay’s powerfuland moving memoir is a reflection on a childhood spent in institutional care and an exploration of issues of race and family – and what it means to belong.
Buy My Name Is Why here.
This compelling investigation of female desire takes us deep into thepersonal lives of the three women of the title. Lina is locked in a marriage to a husband who will not touch her. Maggie has become a pariah in her hometown after a relationship with a teacher. And Sloane has somehow evolved into a sexual object for her husband and other men. Three Women is a record of unmet needs, disappointments and unrelenting obsessions.
Buy Three Women here.