‘Very much a Mancunian’: Anthony Burgess literature to be revived with grant on 20th anniversary of death

By Edward Roberts

The foundation of legendary Manchester-born writer Anthony Burgess was given a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund ahead of the 20th anniversary of his death today.

The £55,500 donation will go towards restoring a large collection of his work that is currently held by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation.

Classics such as his 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange will be dealt with along with many other Burgess-based artefacts.

Conservation of his literary work will be at the heart of the two-year project, but a considerable collection of his photographs, manuscripts and other labours will also receive treatment.

The foundation is hoping that the preservation of his work will also reinforce the memory of Burgess in the city where he once lived.

Director Will Carr said: “In his life he was very much a Mancunian.

“He maintained a relationship with the city throughout his life and then when he died he was still one of Manchester greatest cultural exports.”

Burgess was born in 1917 and grew up in Harpurhey and Moss Side. He later studied at the University of Manchester but moved away and later taught in Malaya.

His affection for the city can still be found through much of his literature.

“He had a great appreciation for Manchester,” Mr Carr said.

“He did come back a lot to visit and he writes about Manchester in many of his books.”

The money will also be spent on a series of public events and guided tours that will showcase Burgess’ legacy.

These will run throughout the year as researchers delve deeper into studying the writer’s life.

“Our aim with everything that we’re doing is to make his work more available to people,” Mr Carr added.

“We want him to be rediscovered.”

Burgess’ accolades earned him considerable international attention and he remains one of the 21st century’s best known authors.

In 2012 a memorial assembled on the University of Manchester campus which exemplified his appeal to a whole new generation.

While Mr Carr has accepted the themes in some of Burgess’ writing bares adult content, he also acknowledged that a much of the authors work is applicable to younger audience.

He said: “I think his books can be quite inspiring to younger readers. It opens up their eyes to what literature can achieve.”

Burgess died on November 22 1993 and the grant aims to further commemorate his life.

Sarah Hilton, Head of the Lottery Fund North West, said: “The HLF grant will help the Foundation conserve Burgess’ extensive and varied collection and share his story with the people of Manchester and from people further afield in the future.”

Image courtesy of Prehensile Eye via Flickr, with thanks.

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