“What makes me write is the rhythm of the world around me - the rhythms of the language, of course, but also of the land, the wind, the sky, other lives. Before the words comes the rhythm - that seems to me to be of the essence.” – John Burnside
Born on this date in 1955, Scottish writer Burnside is one of only two writers to win both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Poetry Prize for the same book. Burnside’s Black Cat Bone took home the prestigious awards in 2011. He also won the Whitbread Award for The Asylum Dance.
A onetime computer software engineer, he has been a freelance writer since 1996 and is now Professor in Creative Writing at St Andrews University. Burnside also has authored short stories, novels, essays, and two multi-award winning memoirs, A Lie About My Father and Waking Up In Toytown. His short stories and feature essays have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including The New Yorker and The Guardian.
His newest book is this year’s nonfiction work On Henry Miller, published in the U.S. “I love long sentences,” he said of his writing style. “My big heroes of fiction writing are Henry James and (Marcel) Proust – people who recognize that life doesn't consist of declarative statements, but rather modifications, qualifications and feelings.”
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