Hanif Abdurraqib, Salena Godden on UK’s Gordon Burn Prize 2021 shortlist.

Hanif Abdurraqib and Salena Godden are on the shortlist for the Gordon Burn Prize 2021 announced on Friday, August 13, 2021.

English writer Gordon Burn wrote four novels and several works of non-fiction; he passed away in 2009. In 2013, the Gordon Burn Prize, celebrating fiction or non-fiction written in the English language, was launched. It is jointly organised by the Gordon Burn Trust, New Writing North and Faber & Faber. Winners have been David Keenan, Jesse Ball, Denise Mina, David Szalay, Dan Davies, Paul Kingsnorth, and Benjamin Myers. Lemn Sissay and Paul Mendez made the shortlist in 2020.

Denise Mina is the chair of the judging panel for 2021 alongside literary journalist and editor Sian Cain, novelist and short story writer Irenosen Okojie, and writer and poet Derek Owusu. They announced the longlist on June 22 before unveiling the shortlist which had the following writers of African descent;

  • A Little Devil in America (Penguin Press), Hanif Abdurraqib
  • Mrs Death Misses Death (Canongate), Salena Godden

Hanif Abdurraqib is a US American poet, essayist, and cultural critic. Salena Godden is an English poet, author, activist, broadcaster, memoirist and essayist. Born in the UK, she is of Jamaican-Irish heritage and based in London.

Salena Godden said of her listing, “Such brilliant news this morning. My debut novel Mrs Death Misses Death is on the shortlist for the #GordonBurnPrize – Congratulations to everyone. I’m blown away by this lovely news! Thank you! Woop!”

Hanif Abdurraqib said, “so much gratitude for this honor, and a pleasure to be in this company.”

The winning writer to be revealed at the Durham Book Festival in October 2021 will receive £5,000 and the chance to undertake a writing retreat of up to three months at Gordon Burn’s cottage in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders.


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