Jesse Ball’s ‘strange and beautiful’ Census wins Gordon Burn prize


This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian


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Judges praise fable inspired by the author’s late brother as perfect match for prize’s ambition to reward writing ‘that dares to enter history’

A fable inspired by the author Jesse Ball’s late brother, who had Down’s syndrome, has won the Gordon Burn prize.

The American author’s Census, which follows a terminally ill father and his son as they conduct a survey of a nameless country, beat works including Guy Gunaratne’s Booker-longlisted novel In Our Mad and Furious City to the £5,000 award at the Durham book festival on Thursday evening. The prize is for work that follows in the footsteps of Burn – “novels which dare to enter history and interrogate the past; non-fiction adventurous enough to inhabit characters and events in order to create new and vivid realities” – and has been won in the past by writers including Paul Kingsnorth and Benjamin Myers.

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