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The Winners! 2016-17 Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism

  • By Sophie Freeman
  • 28th February 2017
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Free Word is delighted to partner for the first time with the Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism celebrating unpublished arts and culture review. Here we share the announcement of the winning entries for the fifth year of the prize.

Free Word was pleased to be at the unveiling of the winners of the latest Observer / Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism on Thursday 23 February.

The prize celebrates previously unpublished and original arts journalism and culture review. In its fifth year, entries came in from all around the world on a truly wide range of subjects.

The full shortlist for this year’s prize was:

  • Stephen Hargadon: ‘Pointless, BBC1′
  • Ralph Jones: ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby
  • Paul Kilbey: ‘Giselle: English National Ballet and Akram Khan’
  • Giles Masters: ‘Shostakovich’s The Nose at the Royal Opera House’
  • Liam O’Brien: ‘Justin Bieber: The Purpose World Tour’
  • Ditlev Rindom: ‘Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House’
  • Susan Sheahan: ‘Evgenia Arbugaeva: Weatherman at The Photographers’ Gallery’
  • Lyndsey Skinner: ‘John Samson: Dressing For Pleasure, 1975-1983 at Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art’

At the prize ceremony in London, Judges Robert McCrum (Associate Editor) and Sarah Donaldson (Arts Editor) welcomed the crowd. Andrew Biswell (Director, International Anthony Burgess Foundation) explored Burgess’ arts criticism and shared plans for the celebrations of his centenary this year.

The Winners

The winner was Susan Sheahan, whose subject was the exhibition Weather Man by Evgenia Arbugaeva at the Photographers’ Gallery, London. The solitary life of a meteorologist living on a remote peninsular in northern Russia inspired this exhibition. The presentation of Arbugaeva’s images of day-to-day life in unique surroundings were given a sensitive and insightful treatment.

The runners up, each winning £500, were Liam O’Brien for his sharp and funny piece on Justin Bieber’s Purpose World Tour; and Giles Masters for his review of The Nose by Shostakovich at the Royal Opera House.

The winning entry was awarded £3,000 and all the writers received replica trophies of the ‘Critic of the Year’ award presented to Anthony Burgess in 1979 by Margaret Thatcher. Free Word will support the winner to produce new writing about the arts along with a European travel grant to undertake research.

The Observer published the winning entries on 25 February, the centenary of Anthony Burgess’s birth.

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