Oscar Jelley wins Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism

Christ Church graduate student Oscar Jelley has been announced as this year's winner of the prestigious Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism. The annual competition aims to discover and spotlight emerging talent in critical writing in the arts. 

Having completed his BA in German and Philosophy at Christ Church last year, Oscar Jelley returned to the College where he is now completing an MSt in Comparative Literature and Critical Translation. He is also a keen journalist, writing regularly on literature, film and music for publications such as The Oxford Blue and Cherwell. It is one such arts article – a review of Corey Fah Does Social Mobility, the latest novel by Goldsmiths Prize-winning author Isabel Waidner – that has earned him the 2024 Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize. 

As the International Anthony Burgess Foundation explains, the Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize was not only founded with the intention of identifying and celebrating talented new arts journalists: the award also celebrates the connection between Burgess and The Observer, for which the A Clockwork Orange author wrote for more than 30 years. This year's judges were The Observer's art critic Laura Cumming and arts editor Sarah Donaldson, and the Anthony Burgess Foundation's director Andrew Biswell.

The prospect of seeing my own writing in The Observer alongside so many professional critics is really exciting!

As winner of the Prize, Oscar will receive £3,000 and have his article published in The Observer New Review and online on Sunday 9 June.

Responding to news of his award, Oscar said: 'I'm really grateful to the judges of the prize for choosing my article as the winner – it was good fun to write and I hope it's stimulating to read. I love engaged and lively arts journalism, and over the years it's helped me to think about art and its relationship to the wider world in all sorts of fresh ways, so the prospect of seeing my own writing in The Observer alongside so many professional critics is really exciting! 

'In future, I definitely want to carry on writing about literature and the arts in some capacity, so it's great to have this encouragement.' 

The Christ Church community would like to congratulate Oscar on this remarkable achievement and wishes him all the very best in his budding career.