Literary Birthday – 19 March – John Burnside

Happy Birthday, John Burnside, born 19 March 1955.


  1. The definition of a page-turner really aught to be that this page is so good, you can’t bear to leave it behind, but then the next page is there and it might be just as amazing as this one.
  2. Our response to the world is essentially one of wonder, of confronting the mysterious with a sense, not of being small, or insignificant, but of being part of a rich and complex narrative.
  3. That’s the wonderful thing with nerds: they’re enthusiasts. Not having a life means you get to love things with a passion and nobody bothers you about it.
  4. The trick and the beauty of language is that it seems to order the whole universe, misleading us into believing that we live in sight of a rational space, a possible harmony.
  5. If the components of the body were organs and veins and cells, then the components of thought and language were words and grammar.

John Burnside is a Scottish author, poet, and memoirist. He is one of only three poets to have won both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Poetry Prize for the same book (Black Cat Bone). His first novel was The Dumb House, and he has a further seven novels, three collections of short stories and two memoirs, A Lie About My Father, and Waking Up in Toytown.

Source for an image by Helmut Fricke/Source for quotes/Source for quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 18th March 2021