Professor celebrates 100th anniversary of Anthony Burgess’ birth

Andrew Biswell, Professor of Modern Literature in the English Department at Manchester Metropolitan University, is preparing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of one of Manchester’s most successful cultural exports – Anthony Burgess, the writer and composer, who wrote A Clockwork Orange, 32 other novels and more than 250 musical works.

Born on 25 February 1917, Anthony Burgess was educated at Xaverian College and Manchester University before leaving the city for good in 1940. He regularly came back to visit his extended family, and in the 1980s he made a number of films for television about how Manchester had changed since the Second World War. He died in 1993 at the age of 76.

Prof Biswell is the author of a prize-winning biography of Burgess, and he is one of the editors of Burgess’s Collected Works, the first volumes of which will appear this summer.

  • On 20 February, Andrew will give a lecture, titled ‘Anthony Burgess: The Years in Monaco’, at the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco. Burgess, who lived in Monaco from 1975, was a personal friend of Princess Grace, and after her death he helped to found the Irish Library which commemorates her.Details of the lecture are at http://www.pgil.mc/events/lecture/anthony-burgess—the-years-in-monaco-71
  • On Saturday 25 February, which is the 100th anniversary of Anthony Burgess’s birth, Andrew 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 2 March, Andrew 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. Details are online at  http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/late-shift-1/in-conversation-02032017

Manchester University Press will publish a new edition of Burgess’s first novel, A Vision of Battlements, with an introduction and notes by Andrew Biswell, in June 2017. The novel deals with Burgess’s experiences as a soldier on Gibraltar during the Second World War.

Along with Dr Paul Wake from the English department, Andrew is one of the organisers of the ‘Burgess 100’ international conference in Manchester, scheduled to take place on 3-5 July 2017.

Andrew Biswell commented: “Anthony Burgess is one of the major European novelists of the twentieth 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 his books and music are beginning to get the attention they deserve.”