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Former Empire editor-in-chief to chair judges for Gordon Burn Prize for literature

Terri White, the former editor-in-chief of Empire magazine and author of the memoir Coming Undone, is to chair the judging panel for The Gordon Burn Prize 2024-25 – entries are open now.

In May 2024, White’s radio documentary Finding Britain’s Ghost Children won Gold at the Audio and Radio Industry Awards.

The Gordon Burn Prize is awarded to both fiction and non-fiction books that are fearless in their ambition and execution.

It is run in partnership by New Writing North, Faber & Faber and the Gordon Burn Trust, with sponsorship from Newcastle University and remembers Gordon Burn, the journalist and author of novels including Alma Cogan and Born Yesterday: The News as a Novel, and non-fiction including Happy Like Murderers: The Story of Fred and Rosemary West and Best and Edwards: Football, Fame and Oblivion, and celebrates the work of those who follow in his footsteps.

Like Burns’s own work, the books recognised by the Gordon Burn Prize often push boundaries, cross genres, or otherwise challenge readers’ expectations.

The 2023-24 prize was won by American writer Kathryn Scanlan for her novel Kick the Latch. Other recent winners have included Aftermath by Preti Taneja (2022); A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance, by Hanif Abdurraqib (2021); and This Is Not Propaganda by Peter Pomerantsev (2020).

White, who is chairing the panel for the second time, will be joined by four other judges this year: Carl Anka, a journalist, author, and broadcaster who specialises in pop culture, video games, films, and football. Carl currently writes for The Athletic and co-authored Marcus Rashford’s children’s books including You Are a Champion; Angela Hui, a journalist, editor and author of Takeaway: A Childhood from Behind the Counter; Sarah Phelps, a TV screenwriter, radio writer, playwright and television producer, whose work ranges from Eastenders to the RTS and BAFTA-award-winning The Sixth Commandment, and David Whitehouse, a novelist, non-fiction writer and writer for film and television, whose four books include About A Son, which was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize in 2022. His next book, Saltwater Mansions, is due out in 2025.

White said: “Round two as chair of the Gordon Burn Prize, and I am gagging to get stuck into this year’s batch of bold, brilliant, categorise-at-your-own-risk books. Those like reigning-winner Kick the Latch, that are pressed from trusted hand to trusted hand, leaving the reader, the written word – and sometimes yes, I’m not too cool to say it, the world – changed.

“Collectively, the judges summon the spirit of Gordon Burn, and ensure we continue engaging with his rich legacy through eyes trained on contemporary life. The Gordon Burn Prize 2024-2025 really does promise to be something dead special.”

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