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Gordon Burn Judges

Judges announced as Gordon Burn Prize 2025 opens for entry

Published on: 13 June 2024

The Gordon Burn Prize 2025 is now open for entry to both fiction and non-fiction books that are fearless in their ambition and execution.

Sought-after honour

The prize was founded in 2012 and has become one of literature’s most sought-after honours for books that often find their readers outside the mainstream.  

The Gordon Burn Prize is sponsored by Newcastle University and run in partnership by New Writing North, Faber & Faber and the Gordon Burn Trust. It remembers Gordon Burn, the journalist and author of novels including Alma Cogan and Born Yesterday: The News as a Novel, and non-fiction including Happy Like Murderers: The Story of Fred and Rosemary West and Best and Edwards: Football, Fame and Oblivion, and celebrates the work of those who follow in his footsteps. 

Like Gordon’s own work, the books recognised by the Gordon Burn Prize often push boundaries, cross genres, or otherwise challenge readers’ expectations.  

In 2023-24, the American writer Kathryn Scanlan won the prizefor her novel Kick the Latch, described by chair of the judges Terri White as a thundering achievement, liberated from hard lines of genre and form by a laser-focus on not just excavation, but building of voice…It’s the novel in a state of metempsychosis. Scanlan hammering it into submission, bending it under heat, skill, and force.”  

Other recent winners have includeAftermath by Professor Preti Taneja (2022), who is Director of the Newcaslte University Centre for Literary Arts; A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance, by Hanif Abdurraqib (2021); and This Is Not Propaganda by Peter Pomerantsev (2020).  


This year's Gordon Burn Prize judges. L-R Terri White, Carl Anka, Angela Hui, Sarah Phelps and David Whitehouse

The judges

 In 2025, five writers will judge the prize, representing a broad range of interests and specialisms.Terri White will chair the judges for her second year. Terri is a journalist, editor, screenwriter andauthor. She was editor-in-chief of Empire magazine and is author of the memoir Coming Undone. In May 2024, her radio documentary Finding Britain’s Ghost Children won Gold at the Audio and Radio Industry Awards.  

Terri is joined on the panel by 


  • Carl Anka, a journalist, author, and broadcaster who specialises in pop culture, video games, films, and football. Carl currently writes for The Athletic and co-authored Marcus Rashford’s children’s books including You Are a Champion 

  • Angela Hui, a journalist, editor and author of Takeaway: A Childhood from Behind the Counter.  

  • Sarah Phelps, a television screenwriter, radio writer, playwright and television producer, whose work ranges fromEastenders to the RTS and BAFTA-award-winningThe Sixth Commandment.   

  • David Whitehouse, a novelist, non-fiction writer and writer for film and television, whose four books include About A Son, which was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize in 2022. His book Saltwater Mansionsis due out in 2025. 

Terri White said: "Round two as Chair of the Gordon Burn Prize, and I am gagging to get stuck into this year's batch of bold, brilliant, categorise-at-your-own-risk books. Those like reigning-winner Kick the Latch, that are pressed from trusted hand to trusted hand, leaving the reader, the written word - and sometimes yes, I'm not too cool to say it, the world - changed.

"This year, I'm joined by a clutch of brilliant judges whose work I both deeply (deeply) envy and admire: the current master of Gordon's beloved New Journalism, author David Whitehouse; journalist and memoirist Angela Hui, a vital voice at the intersection of life writing, culture and identity; leading northern sports journalist (and Marcus Rashford collaborator) Carl Anka, plus as a special treat we've recruited an extra judge. One of the country's finest and, as of last month, BAFTA-winning screenwriters. Sarah Phelps' writing for television has long given new, blazing life to traditional stories and well-worn genres, but most recently, with The Sixth Commandment, she has single-handedly shifted contemporary screen culture (what a woman), offering a radical new blueprint for writing drama from true crime stories (seriously, what a woman!). Collectively, the judges summon the spirit of Gordon Burn, and ensure we continue engaging with his rich legacy through eyes trained on contemporary life. The Gordon Burn Prize 2024-2025 really does promise to be something dead special." 

Carl Anka said: I’m really excited to be on the judging panel for the Gordon Burn Prize. Last year’s winner, Kick the Latch was the sort of thought-provoking and entertaining read that sticks with you and makes you get an extra copy to a friend.  

I’m excited to see what sort of challenging books are among this year's selections and hope to encounter interesting worlds, nuanced characters, and genre-bending prose. The Gordon Book Prize is an important reminder that there's more than one way to make a brilliant book, and that brilliant books can touch you in ways other mediums still struggle to match. 

Angela Hui said: What an immense privilege and pleasure to be one of the judges. I'm excited to read a broad range of stories from different voices that capture Gordon Burn's fearless writing.” 

Sarah Phelps said: Gordon Burn’s writing has electrified me and tilted my horizons since I first read Alma Cogan and Happy Like Murderers decades ago.  I’m thrilled to have been asked to be on the jury for the Gordon Burn Prize. I can’t wait to get started and read the work by astonishing writers on the longlist.  What an absolute honour.” 

David Whitehouse said: “Seems silly to be a fan of a prize really, but I’m a fan of the Gordon Burn Prize. It always turns up some of the best and most stupidly overlooked books published in Britain. I want to read books with something in them that might have made Gordon Burn think ‘I wish I’d thought of that’. It could mean a book that is as hard to look at as it is to look away from, but it definitely means a writer is on to something. 

The Gordon Burn Prize 2025 is now open for entry until 1 August 2024 at It is open to works in English published between 1 December 2023 and 30 November 2024 by writers of any nationality. The prize will be awarded in March 2025 in Gordon Burn’s home city, Newcastle upon Tyne, with support from Newcastle University.  

The winner of the Gordon Burn Prize 2025 will receive £10,000 and the chance to undertake a writing retreat at Gordon Burn’s cottage in Berwickshire.  





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