Writers

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Anthony Burgess

1917-1993

John Anthony Burgess Wilson, (1917 – 1993), who published under the name Anthony Burgess, was an English writer and composer. John’s mother, Elizabeth Burgess, was a singer and dancer known on music hall posters as the Beautiful Belle Burgess. His father, Joseph Wilson, was a bookkeeper by day and a piano player by night. John’s mother and older sister, Muriel, died in the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. From then, John was in the care of his mother’s sister, Ann Bromley, until his father remarried in 1922. John Burgess Wilson graduated from the Victoria University of Manchester in 1940 with a degree in English Literature. For 6 years he served in the Army after which he taught in various colleges and was English master at Banbury Grammar School in 1950. While he was working as an education officer in Malaya and Borneo his first published novel, Time for a Tiger, appeared under the name of Anthony Burgess. He wrote 2 more novels with a Malayan setting before he was discharged from the British Colonial Services because of ill health. Back in England from 1959, Burgess became a prolific writer. By the time Clockwork Orange appeared, he had published another 6 novels. He also worked as a literary journalist and contributed to television and radio programs. Anthony Burgess was also a well-known composer of more than 200 pieces of music, including a libretti for the Glasgow production of Scottish Opera’s Oberon in 1985.