The International Anthony Burgess Foundation invites papers to be presented at the centenary conference, ANTHONY BURGESS: LIFE, WORK, REPUTATION. The conference will take place in Manchester on 3, 4, and 5 July 2017.

The conference will have three main points of focus:


Born and educated in Manchester, Burgess spent the Second World War in Gibraltar. After 1945 he spent time in colonial Malaya, Brunei, Russia, Malta, Italy, the United States, France and Monaco. He died in London in 1993. A gifted linguist, he incorporated unfamiliar languages and cultures into the text of his published work. Burgess explored his own life in two volumes of unreliable memoirs, Little Wilson and Big God and You’ve Had Your Time. He has been the subject of numerous biographical works, including the books by Geoffrey Aggeler, Samuel Coale, John J. Stinson and Roger Lewis. The story of his life remains a contested one.


The centenary offers an opportunity to ignite new debates about different aspects of Anthony Burgess’s varied and wide-ranging artistic work. From the colonial fiction of The Malayan Trilogy, he went on to produce social-realist novels about the condition of England in the 1960s; futuristic dystopias (The Wanting Seed, 1985, A Clockwork Orange); comedies (such as the ‘Enderby’ novels); Cold War fiction (e.g. Honey for the Bears, Tremor of Intent), fictionalised biographies of William Shakespeare, John Keats and Christopher Marlowe; experimental novels of the 1970s (M/F, Napoleon Symphony); writing for children (A Long Trip to Tea-Time, The Land Where the Ice Cream Grows); reworkings of mythology (A Vision of Battlements, The Worm and the Ring, Beard’s Roman Women); Biblical fiction (Man of Nazareth, Moses: A Narrative); historical epics (Earthly Powers, Any Old Iron); short fiction (The Devil’s Mode); and other unclassifiable non-fiction books about New York, Mozart, Ernest Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence and James Joyce. He was also active as a translator, composer, dramatist, screenwriter, poet, librettist, journalist, literary historian and essayist. The variety of this work opens up multiple points of engagement.


The conference aims to investigate Burgess’s relationships with other writers, film-makers, artists, musicians and cultural movements of his time. Among his network of friends and associates were (for example) Kingsley Amis, William Boyd, Christine Brooke-Rose, A.S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Shirley Conran, Umberto Eco, Graham Greene, Joseph Heller, B.S. Johnson, Erica Jong, Olivia Manning, George Orwell, Eric Partridge, Thomas Pynchon, Adrienne Rich, Paul Scott, Muriel Spark, Dylan Thomas, Gore Vidal and Evelyn Waugh. As a cultural critic, his reviews took in most of the prominent writers of his time. Burgess also collaborated with visual artists such as David Hockney, the Quay Brothers, Joe Tilson, Fulvio Testa, David Robinson, Edward Pagram and others. Papers which examine the influence of Burgess on international writers of subsequent generations are also encouraged.

The International Anthony Burgess Foundation is particularly keen for the conference to open up new areas of discussion and debate. We encourage papers which deal with areas of Burgess’s life and work which have not received significant attention before now. As we have recently hosted a three-day conference about A Clockwork Orange, we have a strong preference for papers which look beyond this particular work.

The conference will include opportunities to visit Xaverian College and Manchester University, where Burgess studied in the 1920s and 1930s.

Abstracts of up to 200 words should be submitted to on or before 10 January 2017. Enquiries may be sent to the same address.

Dr Graham Foster
Research and Public Engagement Fellow
International Anthony Burgess Foundation
Engine House
Chorlton Mill
3 Cambridge Street
M1 5BY

0161 235 0776