John Anthony Burgess Wilson, (; 25 February 1917 – 22 November 1993) – who published under the pen name Anthony Burgess – was an English writer and composer. From relatively modest beginnings in a Catholic family in Manchester, he eventually became one of the best known English literary figures of the latter half of the twentieth century.
Although Burgess was predominantly a comic writer, his dystopian satire A Clockwork Orange remains his best known novel. In 1971 it was adapted into a highly controversial film by Stanley Kubrick, which Burgess said was chiefly responsible for the popularity of the book. Burgess produced numerous other novels, including the Enderby quartet, and Earthly Powers, regarded by most critics as his greatest novel. He wrote librettos and screenplays, including for the 1977 TV mini-series Jesus of Nazareth. He worked as a literary critic for several publications, including The Observer and The Guardian, and wrote studies of classic writers, notably James Joyce. A versatile linguist, Burgess lectured in phonetics, and translated Cyrano de Bergerac, Oedipus Rex and the opera Carmen, among others.
Burgess also composed over 250 musical works; he sometimes claimed to consider himself as much a composer as an author, although he enjoyed considerably more success in writing.
He is also known as John Anthony Burgess Wilson, John Burgess Wilson and Joseph Kell.
Burgess wrote: "I shall die somewhere in the Mediterranean lands, with an inaccurate obituary in the Nice-Matin, unmourned, soon forgotten." In fact he died in the country of his birth. He returned to Twickenham, an outer suburb of London, where he owned a house, to await death. Burgess died on 22 November 1993 from lung cancer, at the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth in London. His ashes were inurned at the Monaco Cemetery. The epitaph on Burgess's marble memorial stone, reads: "Abba Abba". The phrase has several connotations. It means "Father, father" in Aramaic, Arabic, Hebrew and other Semitic languages. It is Burgess's initials forwards and backwards; part of the rhyme scheme for the Petrarchan sonnet; and the title of Burgess's 22nd novel, concerning the death of Keats. Eulogies at his memorial service at St Paul's, Covent Garden, London in 1994 were delivered by the journalist Auberon Waugh and the novelist William Boyd. The Times obituary heralded the author as "a great moralist." His estate was worth $3 million, and left a large European property portfolio of houses and apartments.