About this artwork

The poet and novelist John Burnside was born in Dunfermline, Fife. His first collection of poems The Hoop (1988) and his second collection Common Knowledge (1991) were awarded Scottish Arts Council Book Awards. In 2000 The Asylum Dance won the Whitbread Poetry Award and was shortlisted for both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Poetry Prize. In 2008 he won a Cholmondeley Award. In 2012, his collection Black Cat Bone won both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize. Burnside is equally acclaimed as a writer of novels, short stories and autobiographical works. It has been remarked that ‘throughout Burnside’s oeuvre there is a sense of the liminal, the provisional and the transformative’ and this is reflected in Lawson’s unusual ‘double’ portrait. Burnside has said: ‘I love my writing life. It is a privilege, a quest and a lifelong discipline’.

Alan J. Lawson is a Scottish painter, sculptor, and teacher. Brought up in Edinburgh, he originally read English at Aberdeen University. He went on to study and later teach at The Florence Academy of Art in Italy. He now lives and works in Switzerland.