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Maxine Peake, Roddy Doyle and Suzanne Moore to judge Gordon Burn writing prize 2015

The panel has been announced for the prestigious prize, which was created in the memory of the acclaimed North East writer

Paul Simpson Maxine Peake
Maxine Peake

Roddy Doyle, Maxine Peake and Suzanne Moore will help make up the judging panel for the Gordon Burn Prize 2015. They will be joined by novelist and journalist Doug Johnstone and artist Gavin Turk.

Celebrating innovation in literature, the prize is open for submissions until Monday. March 2.

Created in the spirit of the Newcastle-born writer’s work, the prize recognises and celebrates writing which crosses boundaries, calls into question perceived notions of genre, and which dares to tread the fine line between fact and fiction.

Published works of both fiction and non-fiction are welcomed.

Gordon Burn (1948-2009) was a writer for whom no subject or character was beyond fictionalising. Peter Sutcliffe, Alma Cogan, Duncan Edwards, George Best and Bobby Charlton, Damien Hirst, Gordon Brown, Margaret Thatcher, and even Gordon Burn himself: Burn loved to take characters already burnished in the celebrity spotlight and explore the darkness beneath.

Sometimes he would choose fiction to do this, as in his Whitbread Prize-winning debut, Alma Cogan; other times – and sometimes within the same book – his methods and intentions were more ambiguous.

Irish author Roddy Doyle
Irish author Roddy Doyle

Across a broad range of interests including social history, sport, true crime, music, celebrity and art, the reader begins to question the very nature of what he is reading. Fiction? Non-fiction? Faction?

The Gordon Burn Prize launched in 2012 and is a partnership between New Writing North, the Gordon Burn Trust and Faber and Faber, publishers of Gordon’s work.

The 2015 prize will reward a published title written in the English language, which in the opinion of the judges most successfully represents the spirit and sensibility of Gordon’s fearless and experimental literary methods.

A shortlist of no more than 10 books will be announced in August 2015 and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony as part of Durham Book Festival in October 2015. The winning writer will receive a cheque for £5,000 and be offered the opportunity to undertake a writing retreat of up to three months at Gordon Burn’s cottage in the Scottish Borders.

Previous winners of the award include Ben Myers (2013) for his novel, Pig Iron, published by Blue Moose, and to Paul Kingsnorth (2014) for The Wake, published by Unbound.

Carol Gorner, wife of Gordon Burn, said: “The establishing of the prize is something Gordon wanted to happen and he would be thrilled by how well it has been received. He really loved prizes, and not only when he won. This might sound unlikely for the author of Happy Like Murderers, but the emotion and drama of awards always moved and fascinated him.

“In addition to the amazing winners, the response from those asked to be judges, and the quality of the short listed writers has far exceeded our expectations. It has validated our and Gordon’s belief that there is an appetite for fearless and original writing. We can’t wait for the next winners to emerge.”

For full details about the prize, as well as submission guidelines, see www.newwritingnorth.com


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