The tenth annual Gordon Burn Prize was awarded this evening at Durham Book Festival (Thursday 13 October) to a writer whose unflinching work of narrative non-fiction blurs genres and form to understand terror, trauma and grief. The winning title is Aftermath by Preti Taneja (And Other Stories, 2022).
The Gordon Burn Prize celebrates the year’s most dazzlingly bold and forward-thinking fiction and non-fiction written in English. Aftermath was selected by a panel of judges, made up of sportswriter and columnist Jonathan Liew, author Denise Mina (chair), broadcaster Stuart Maconie, artist and poet Heather Phillipson and writer Chitra Ramaswamy.
The Gordon Burn Prize is run in partnership by the Gordon Burn Trust, New Writing North, Faber & Faber and Durham Book Festival, a Durham County Council event.
Aftermath strives to make sense of the London Bridge terror attack in 2019. Usman Khan was a convicted terrorist who spent eight years in prison and went on to kill two people, Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt, at an event marking the anniversary of a prison programme he had participated in. Preti Taneja had taught Kahn in prison and Jack Merritt was her colleague. Aftermath is a profound attempt to regain trust after violence and rebuild faith in human compassion: a powerful recommitment to activism and radical hope.
Preti Taneja is a professor of World Literature and Creative Writing at Newcastle University. Her first novel, We That Are Young, a translation of King Lear set in contemporary India, won the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018.