Monday, 10 October 2016

David Szalay wins the Gordon Burn Prize 2016

The latest New Writing North newsletter has revealed that the Gordon Burn Prize 2016 was won by David Szalay:


October 2016
Winner announced for Gordon Burn Prize
David Szalay wins the Gordon Burn Prize 2016
We are thrilled to announce that David Szalay has won the Gordon Burn Prize 2016.

All That Man Is, David Szalay’s collection of linked short stories, was chosen as the winner of the Gordon Burn Prize 2016 by the judges, novelists Jenn Ashworth and William Boyd, journalist and writer Rachel Cooke, and the artist and author Harland Miller.

The fourth annual Gordon Burn Prize was announced at a special event at Durham Book Festival on Friday evening.

David Szalay is the author of three previous novels: Spring, The Innocent and London and the South-East, for which he was awarded the Betty Trask and Geoffrey Faber Memorial prizes. In 2013 he was named as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists.

The stories in All That Man Is span Europe, from the suburbs of Prague to a cheap Cypriot hotel, and the experiences of nine men at different stages of life, in a piercing portrait of twenty-first century manhood. The book is currently shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016.

The Gordon Burn Prize was founded in 2012 to celebrate the legacy of the late author. A fearless and forensic writer, Newcastle-born Burn was a literary polymath, who wrote across a wide range of subjects, from celebrity to serial killers and politics to contemporary art, including the novels Fullalove and Born Yesterday: The News as Novel, and non-fiction including Happy Like Murderers: The Story of Fred and Rosemary West; Best and Edwards: Football, Fame and Oblivion and Sex & Violence, Death & Silence: Encounters with recent art.

Gordon’s work was precise and rigorous, while often blurring the line between fact and fiction. The Gordon Burn Prize, run in partnership by the Gordon Burn Trust, New Writing North, Faber & Faber and Durham Book Festival, seeks to celebrate the writing of those whose work follows in his footsteps.

Of judging the prize, novelist William Boyd said:
“The overall standard of the shortlist—however individual the books—was exceptionally high. The merits of each title shone very brightly—fiction or non-fiction—and it was a difficult job to select a winner. It is an unusual but commendable feature of the prize that it will pit a novel against reportage or biography but the mix doesn’t seem to pose any problem, interestingly enough.

Keeping Gordon Burn’s fiction and non-fiction in the back of our minds allowed us some real terms of reference in our necessarily subjective evaluation. As a result, in the final session, David Szalay’s
All That Man Is emerged fairly swiftly as a front-runner.  It is a novel—like Gordon’s fiction—that subtly changes the way you look at the contemporary world.  A very rare effect, in fact. In addition, it is darkly funny, marvelously observant and written with a confidence and limpidity that make it a really remarkable novel.”
Rachel Cooke said:
“I think our shortlist was strong: so varied, a football book next to a thriller, a family memoir snuggling up beside a book about art. In the end, though,
All That Man Is stood out (to me) by a mile—a book that can, and will, be re-read, each time the reader finding something else funny, something else true. It's a witty book, sometimes savage, even, but it seems also to go places few novels and stories do now....So many different kinds of men are portrayed here, in so many different places, and with so unsparing an eye. It's just fantastically well done. I feel incredibly excited that it's the one we chose. Judging prizes is never easy. But this was fairly straightforward in the end. David's book just seemed to float off into its own orbit.”
David Szalay
has won £5000 and the opportunity to undertake a writing retreat of up to three months at Gordon Burn’s cottage in Berwickshire.
The shortlist for the Gordon Burn Prize 2016 was:

A Woman on the Edge of Time: A Son’s Search for his Mother by Jeremy Gavron The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker All That Man Is by David Szalay And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

Previous winners of the prize are: Benjamin Myers (Pig Iron, 2013), Paul Kingsnorth (The Wake, 2014), Dan Davies (In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile, 2015).
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© New Writing North 2016

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