Sissay, Taddeo and Mendez longlisted for Gordon Burn Prize 2020

Sissay, Taddeo and Mendez longlisted for Gordon Burn Prize 2020

Lemn Sissay, Lisa Taddeo and Paul Mendez have been longlisted for this year's Gordon Burn Prize, alongside nine other writers. 

Sissay (pictured) is up for his memoir about race, identity and family, My Name is Why, published by Canongate last year. Taddeo is listed for her bestseller Three Women (Bloomsbury), alongside Paul Mendez's Rainbow Milk (Dialogue Books).

This year's 12-strong longlist features Jenn Ashworth's Notes Made While Falling (Goldsmiths Press), Luke Brown's Theft (And Other Stories), Garth Greenwell's Cleanness (Picador), Kirstin Innes' Scabby Queen (Fourth Estate), Mark Lanegan's Sing Backwards and Weep (White Rabbit), Casey Legler's Godspeed (Scribe), Jenny Offill's Weather (Granta), Deborah Orr's Motherwell (W&N) and This Is Not Propaganda (Faber) by Peter Pomerantsev. 

The prize recognises fiction and non-fiction, celebrating "works that stand out on the scale of their endeavour" and push genre boundaries. It is open to works written in English by writers of any nationality who are resident in the UK, Ireland or US. 

Carol Gorner, on behalf of the Gordon Burn Trust, said: “This is an extraordinary year, and more than ever it is important to examine the times we live in. The prize is managing to go ahead, and the longlist is relevant and insightful about the current situation. I’m very pleased that there is a platform for this work, and excited to see which of these books will eventually go forward to the shortlist."

This year's judging panel includes Anthony Anaxagorou, artist Rachel Howard, journalist and broadcaster Sali Hughes and author Richard T Kelly. The panel will decide which books go on to be shortlisted, due to be announced later this summer. 

Chief Executive of New Writing North Claire Malcolm said: “Real life has been pretty unreal and a deeply weird mix of boring and alarming recently. The prize focuses on books that take on the big fault lines that run through and shape our culture and on fiction that isn’t afraid to dig deep to find the real truths of our lives. Our longlist this year also features books that are very hard to put down once you start reading; they are all exciting writers who deserve to be read. As bookshops reopen and take centre stage in our reading lives, I hope that readers will embrace these bold and timely books.”

The £5,000 prize-winner will be announced on 15th October at the Durham Book Festival.