Gordon Burn Prize

Key facts

Genres / categories

Literary fiction & poetry

Prize money: £5,000

Key dates

Shortlist announced: 20/07/2018
Winner(s) announced: 11/10/2018

The Gordon Burn Prize is a partnership between the Gordon Burn Trust, New Writing North, Durham Book Festival and Faber & Faber. The winning writer receives a cheque for £5,000 and is offered the opportunity to undertake a writing retreat of up to three months at Gordon Burn’s cottage in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders.

Gordon Burn 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. The reader begins to question the very nature of what he is reading. Fiction? Non-fiction? Faction? Or, as celebrated by the likes of Norman Mailer in the late Sixties, the non-fiction novel.

The 2018 Shortlist is:

  • Census, Jesse Ball (Granta Books)
  • H(a)ppy, Nicola Barker (William Heinemann)
  • In Our Mad and Furious City, Guy Gunaratne (Tinder Press, Headline)
  • Crudo, Olivia Laing (Picador)
  • The Cost of Living, Deborah Levy (Hamish Hamilton)
  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Michelle McNamara (Faber & Faber)

The winner will be announced on the 11th of October at the Durham Book Festival, a Durham County Council festival.