John Burnside FRSL FRSE (born 19 March 1955) is a Scottish writer, born in Dunfermline. He is one of only three poets (the others being Ted Hughes and Sean O'Brien) to have won both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Poetry Prize for the same book (Black Cat Bone).
Life and works
Burnside studied English and European Thought and Literature at Cambridge College of Arts and Technology. A former computer software engineer, he has been a freelance writer since 1996. He is a former Writer in Residence at the University of Dundee and is now Professor in Creative Writing at St Andrews University., where he teaches creative writing, literature and ecology and American poetry. His first collection of poetry, The Hoop, was published in 1988 and won a Scottish Arts Council Book Award. Other poetry collections include Common Knowledge (1991), Feast Days (1992), winner of the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and The Asylum Dance (2000), winner of the Whitbread Poetry Award and shortlisted for both the Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of the Year) and the T. S. Eliot Prize. The Light Trap (2001) was also shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. His 2011 collection, Black Cat Bone, was awarded The Forward Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize.
Burnside is also the author of two collections of short stories, Burning Elvis (2000), and Something Like Happy (2013), as well as several novels, including The Dumb House (1997), The Devil's Footprints, (2007), Glister, (2009) and A Summer of Drowning, (2011). His multi-award winning memoir, A Lie About My Father, was published in 2006 and its successor Waking Up In Toytown, in 2010. A further memoir, I Put A Spell On You combined personal history with reflections on romantic love, magic and popular music. His short stories and feature essays have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including The New Yorker, The Guardian and The London Review of Books, among others. He also writes an occasional nature column for New Statesman. In 2011 he received the Petrarca-Preis, a major German international literary prize.
- 1988 Scottish Arts Council Book Award, for The Hoop
- 1991 Scottish Arts Council Book Award, for Common Knowledge
- 1994 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, for Feast Days
- 1999 Encore Award for The Mercy Boys
- 2000 Forward Poetry Prize (Best Collection – shortlist), for The Asylum Dance
- 2000 T. S. Eliot Prize (shortlist), for The Asylum Dance
- 2000 Whitbread Book Award, Poetry Award, for The Asylum Dance
- 2002 Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award (shortlist), for The Light Trap
- 2002 T. S. Eliot Prize (shortlist), for The Light Trap
- 2005 Forward Poetry Prize (Best Collection - shortlist), for The Good Neighbour
- 2006 Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award for A Lie About My Father
- 2008 Cholmondeley Award
- 2011 Petrarca-Preis
- 2011 PEN/Ackerley prize (shortlist) for Waking Up in Toytown
- 2011 Corine Literature Prize for A Lie About My Father
- 2011 Forward Prize for Black Cat Bone
- 2011 Costa Book Awards (Novel), shortlist, A Summer of Drowning
- 2011 T. S. Eliot Prize for Black Cat Bone
- The Hoop (Carcanet, 1988)
- Common Knowledge (Secker and Warburg, London, 1991)
- Feast Days (Secker and Warburg, London, 1992)
- The Myth of the Twin (Jonathan Cape, London, 1994)
- Swimming in the Flood (Jonathan Cape, London, 1995)
- Penguin Modern Poets (Penguin, 1996)
- A Normal Skin (Jonathan Cape, London, 1997)
- The Asylum Dance (Jonathan Cape, London, 2000)
- The Light Trap (Jonathan Cape, London, 2002)
- A Poet's Polemic (2003)
- The Good Neighbour (Jonathan Cape, 2005)
- Selected Poems (Jonathan Cape, 2006)
- Gift Songs (Jonathan Cape, 2007)
- The Hunt in the Forest (Jonathan Cape, 2009)
- Black Cat Bone (Jonathan Cape, 2011)
- All One Breath (Jonathan Cape, 2014)
- Still Life with Feeding Snake (Jonathan Cape, 2017)
- In the Name of the Bee/ Im Namen der Biene (Golden Luft, Mainz 2018)
- The Dumb House (Jonathan Cape, London, 1997)
- The Mercy Boys (Jonathan Cape, London, 1999)
- Burning Elvis (Jonathan Cape, London, 2000)
- The Locust Room (Jonathan Cape, London, 2001)
- Living Nowhere (Jonathan Cape, London, 2003)
- The Devil's Footprints (Jonathan Cape, 2007)
- Glister (Jonathan Cape, 2008)
- A Summer of Drowning (Jonathan Cape, 2011)
- Something Like Happy (Jonathan Cape, 2013)
- Ashland & Vine (Jonathan Cape, 2017)
- Havergey (Little Toller, 2017)
- Wild Reckoning (Gulbenkian, 2004), joint editor with Maurice Riordan of this anthology of ecology-related poems
- A Lie About My Father (Biography, 2006)
- Wallace Stevens : poems / selected by John Burnside (Poet to Poet Series, Faber and Faber, 2008)
- Waking up in Toytown (Biography, Jonathan Cape, 2010)
- I Put a Spell on You (Biography, Jonathan Cape, 2014)
- On Henry Miller. Princeton University Press. 2018. ISBN 9780691166872.
- The Music of Time: Poetry in the Twentieth Century (Literary Criticism, 2019)
Critical studies and reviews of Burnside's work
- 'Dwelling Places : An Appreciation of John Burnside', special edition of Agenda Magazine, Vol 45 No 4/Vol 46 No 1, Spring/Summer 2011
- Heptonstall, Geoffrey (June–July 2014). "Independent metaphysics". The London Magazine: 132–136. Review of All one breath.
- "Staff Profile, University of St Andrews". Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "Profile of John Burnside". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- https://www.royalsoced.org.uk/1200_2016ElectedFellows.html[dead link]
- "The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize 2020". Retrieved 14 December 2019.
- "Shortlist announced for PEN/Ackerley Prize 2011". Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- "Burnside, who has won the TS Eliot prize for 2011 for Black Cat Bone, talks to Claire Armitstead". The Guardian. London. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- Short essay in November 2011 issue of The New Humanist
- Article in the Spring 2007 issue of Tate etc. magazine
- John Burnside at The New Statesman
- Profile at the Poetry Archive
- Profile at the British Council
- Guardian profile and article listing
- Scottish Arts Council September 2004 Poem of the Month: "hommage to Kåre Kivijärvi"
- Biography on the Scottish Poetry Library website, with recordings of him reading his poems, and links to poem texts
- What We (non)Believe: Reading Poems by Charles Wright, John Burnside, and Kevin Hart from Cordite Poetry Review