The Gordon Burn Prize 2017

Durham Town Hall


Part of the Durham Book Festival



Please join us at the 2017 Gordon Burn Prize ceremony, as we introduce you to the six shortlisted books and announce the winner. The evening will include readings by the shortlisted writers and discussion of their work, as well as an avant-garde jazz performance from composer David McLean’s ‘Crime Scene’ ensemble, inspired by former Gordon Burn Prize-winner Ben Myers’ acclaimed novel, Turning Blue.

The Gordon Burn Prize celebrates daring works of fiction and non-fiction, with the winning writer awarded £5000 and a writing retreat. This year’s prize has been judged by the artist and musician Cosey Fanni Tutti; Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah; journalist, novelist and broadcaster Ian Sansom; and Allan Jenkins, author and the editor of the Observer Food Monthly.

Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova
Border is both a work of reportage and art. Kapka Kassabova returns to the border zone between Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, an area that once swarmed with soldiers, spies and fugitives and remains deeply scarred by its past. Border is a meditation on the borderlines that exist between countries, cultures and people, and that echo within each of us.

This is Memorial Device by David Keenan
David Keenan’s debut novel recreates the youthful intensity, wild energy and rampant excitement of a small Scottish town temporarily transformed by the possibilities of alternative music. At its core is the story of Memorial Device (perhaps the greatest band you’ve never heard of), a group that could have gone all the way were it not for the excess and uncompromising bloody-minded belief that served to confirm them as underground legends.

The Long Drop by Denise Mina
Denise Mina’s novel takes us back to Glasgow in the late 1950s where a series of deeply disturbing and violent murders have shaken the city. At the centre of the The Long Dropare William Watt, a businessman and social climber whose family have been brutally killed, and the sinister yet charismatic Peter Manuel, a known liar and rapist. The pair embark on a strange and uneasy relationship that will have long-term repercussions for them both.

This is the Place to Be by Lara Pawson
Lara Pawson’s fearless memoir is told in fragmentary sections that explore her experiences working as a war reporter in Angola and the Ivory Coast, her upbringing in England and intimate aspects of her personal life. This is the Place to Be is characterised by Pawson’s unshrinking honesty as she approaches the themes of identity, race and class across different continents.

First Love by Gwendoline Riley
First Love is an unflinching portrait of the marriage between Neve, a writer in her thirties, and her older husband Edwyn. As Neve traces the development of their relationship and the events that led to their marriage, she tells of other loves and relationships, notably her tyrannical father and self-involved mother. In beautifully crafted prose andwith distinct humour, Gwendoline Riley takes us into an exploration of modern love.

Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile by Adelle Stripe
Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile is inspired by the life of the Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar, who was brought up on the infamous Buttershaw estate and died at a tragically young age. Adelle Stripe recreates the north of England during the Thatcher years, exploring the bittersweet physical and emotional landscapes that led to a teenage girl from a council estate becoming one of her nation’s greatest dramatists.

Tickets: £10/£8 (includes a Durham Gin and tonic courtesy of Durham Distillery)
Book tickets

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