Denise Mina appointed chair of judges for Gordon Burn Prize

Denise Mina appointed chair of judges for Gordon Burn Prize

Denise Mina has been appointed as chair of the judges for the £5,000 Gordon Burn Prize, as this year's panel is unveiled. 

Mina will oversee the panel, which also includes literary journalist and editor Sian Cain, novelist and short story writer Irenosen Okojie and writer and poet Derek Owusu.

The prize, which is run in partnership by the Gordon Burn Trust, New Writing North, Faber & Faber and the Durham Book Festival, is open to published fiction and non-fiction books written in the English language. It recognises literature that is "forward-thinking and fearless in its ambition and execution, often playing with style, pushing boundaries, crossing genres or challenging readers’ expectations" and welcomes books by writers emerging from backgrounds underrepresented in mainstream literary culture.  

Mina won the prize and the McIllvanney Prize in 2017, for her true crime novel The Long Drop (Hachette).

Commenting on her new role, she said: “I am deeply honoured to have been asked to be chair of the Gordon Burn Prize. The breadth, profundity and audacity of Burn's work is evident in the work of so many of the exciting writers that came after him and it is a delight to be part of that celebration.” 

Okojie said: "I’m thrilled to be a judge for this brilliant prize celebrating daring writing across genres. Books are a lifeblood in these tumultuous times. I'm excited to read dynamic works encapsulating the metamorphic power of storytelling." Owusu added: “It is an honour to judge any literary prize, but I'm super excited to be judging the Gordon Burn Prize. Innovative fiction is always pushing literature forward so to be able to have the opportunity to deep dive into some of the most recent is something I really look forward to.”

Cain said: “Gordon Burn was a very rare writer: someone who was irresistibly drawn to darkness and trauma, but also understood the importance of compassion. As a reader I have long admired Burn's work, and as a journalist I am very honoured to judge a prize in his name. I look forward to reading the submitted books.”

The winner will be announced on Thursday 14th October at the Durham Book Festival, a Durham County Council festival produced by New Writing North. The winning writer will receive a cheque for £5,000 and the opportunity to undertake a writing retreat of up to three months at Gordon Burn’s cottage in the Scottish Borders.

The prize is now open for entries until 7th April.