In both fiction and non-fiction works, the 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.
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. Gordon Burn was represented by Gillon Aitken and Aitken Alexander continue to handle his Estate.
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.
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)