Anthony Burgess would have celebrated his 100th birthday on 25 February 2017.
As part of the centenary celebrations, The Manchester based International Anthony Burgess Foundation are organising events which will take place throughout the year.
On what would have been his hundredth birthday, they are holding a special live performance at the Engine House on Cambridge Street, which will explore Burgess’s life through his unpublished letters.
Drawing on the Foundation’s extensive archive of unpublished correspondence, the evening will present Burgess alongside a colourful cast of his friends and enemies, including Angela Carter, Graham Greene, Stanley Kubrick and Hunter S. Thompson.
The Foundation has worked with BBC Radio 3 to create a season of Burgess-themed programmes.
One of the highlights will be the first ever radio production of Burgess’s drama, Oedipus the King, starring Christopher Eccleston, Fiona Shaw and Don Warrington.
The music from the original 1972 theatre production, composed by Stanley Silverman, has been restored from manuscripts in the Foundation’s archive.
The production includes chants written by Burgess in an invented language. Oedipus the King will be broadcast on Radio 3 on Sunday 26 February 2017.
In the summer The Foundation will hold a centenary conference, under the title ‘Anthony Burgess: Life, Work, Reputation’.
The conference will feature new discussion and analysis of Burgess’s life and work, and it will include the opportunity to visit some of the places described in his autobiography, Little Wilson and Big God.
One other new initiative running throughout the year will be the Anthony Burgess Memories Project.
The Foundation is inviting people who knew Burgess personally, or who met him in any context, to write down their recollections. We are also collecting photographs, music and audio recordings. This material will form a valuable storehouse of biographical information, and we will publish a selection of memories from the project on our website. The project will extend beyond 2017, and it promises to cast fresh light on Anthony Burgess’s life and work, from a variety of viewpoints.