Burgess was born in Harpurhey, Manchester, in the north of England. Before he became a writer, he was a soldier, then a teacher. When he was 37 years old, he left his home country to work in Malaysia and Brunei. Later, he lived in the USA, Italy, and France.
He was born very poor, the son of a man who made a meagre living out of selling cigarettes to workmen. But when Burgess died, he had grown rich. This was because he worked so hard at his art, which is the art of literature. He wrote at least 1,000 words every day of his life. But he always found time to be kind to other writers. He was friendly to the many people who came to visit with him at his seaside home in Monaco.