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Manchester’s Anthony Burgess Foundation celebrates 100 years of Burgess

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By Daniel J Broadley

Image: International Anthony Burgess Foundation

One of Manchester’s greatest ever writers and composers, Anthony Burgess, will be honoured and remembered with a series of events throughout the coming year to mark his 100th birthday.

Born in Harpurhey, Burgess grew up in and around North Manchester. He is best known for writing A Clockwork Orange, which was later adapted for the screen by Stanley Kubrick. He’s also responsible for 32 other novels and for composing 250 musical works.

The first events will take place in February, including a lecture by Manchester Met Professor of Modern Literature Andrew Biswell entitled ‘Anthony Burgess: The Years in Monaco’ at the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco. Burgess lived in Monaco from 1975 and  was a personal friend of Princess Grace. After her death he helped to found the Irish Library which commemorates her.

On 25th February, there will be a live performance and tour of Burgess landmarks around Manchester. The tour, hosted by Ed Glinert, will start at St Ann’s Church, St Ann’s Square at 1:30pm. Tickets cost £8 and will follow Cathedral Street, John Dalton Street and The Midland Hotel among others. Later that same day, a live performance will be held at 7pm at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation. The event will explore Burgess’s life through his unpublished letters to luminaries including Graham Greene, Stanley Kubrick and Hunter S. Thompson. Tour guide Ed Glinert told Manchester Evening News: “Burgess probably wrote more words than Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope combined.”

Also on 25th February, which marks the 100th birthday of Burgess, Professor Biswell will present a special two-hour edition of Saturday Classics on BBC Radio 3, dedicated to Burgess and the music that inspired him as a writer and composer.

On 2nd March, Professor Biswell will be in conversation about Burgess with the acclaimed writer and film-maker Jonathan Meades at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The event begins at 7:00pm and costs £8.

In the summer, the Anthony Burgess Foundation will host an international conference about Burgess’s life and work and a new edition of Burgess’ first novel A Vision of Battlements will be published by Manchester University Press with a new introduction and notes by Professor Biswell. The novel deals with Burgess’ experiences as a soldier in Gibraltar during WWII. Biswell said, “Anthony Burgess is one of the major European novelists of the 20th Century. His artistic work engages with some of the most important issues of his time, including censorship, individual freedom, and the rights of gay and lesbian people. In this year of his hundredth anniversary, it is cheering to see that this books and music are beginning to get the attention they deserve.”

 For a full list of events in the Anthony Burgess Centenary celebrations, visit the International Anthony Burgess Foundation website.


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