William S. Burroughs

William S. Burroughs with a shotgun

William S. Burroughs was the writer of books such as Naked Lunch, Nova Express, and Junky. Often associated with the Beat Generation, he is perhaps most famous for shooting and killing his wife Joan Vollmer.

Along with close friend and collaborator Brion Gysin, Burroughs pioneered the “cut-up” method in his writings. Burroughs is less well known as a visual artist, but was a prolific painter in his later life. He was also a magician and conducted many magical experiments with Gysin and was a member of the IOT.

Through his influence on writers such as J.G. Ballard and William Gibson and musicians like Genesis P. Orridge, Burroughs was a foundational influence on cyberpunk literature and industrial music.

Recent news

The British Library has published a collection of previously unreleased Burroughs/Gysin spoken word recordings

Fantagraphics has publisehd a lost graphic novel by William S. Burroughs and Malcolm McNeil. You can order it through Amazon.

Burroughs: the Man Within has been released. You can buy it on DVD or watch it on Netflix.

And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, a lost novel by Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, is now available. Scholarly review here.

Unofficial sites

Reality Studio a William S. Burroughs community site. The definitive WSB resource on the web. Extensive collection of materials.

Unofficial William S. Burroughs site. Also excellent.

Wikipedia entry


Above: Burroughs interviewed by Kathy Acker (Part 2, Part 3)

An interview with Burroughs on magick (Date???)

Interview in 21C magazine June 1991

The Making of Naked Lunch interviews with David Cronenberg and William S. Burroughs on the making of the Naked Lunch film.

Paris Review interview with William S. Burroughs from 1965


New Burroughs documentary out now Limited release. Trailer available.

Burroughs: The Movie documentary from 1985 (full video streaming for free)

1993 documentary: Commissioner of Sewers

2014 audio documentary featuring Iggy Pop, John Waters and more.

Works by Burroughs

Pirate Tape, a collaboration between William S. Burroughs, Derek Jarman and Psychic TV.

Gus Van Sant’s film adaptation of Burroughs’ The Discipline Of Do Easy

MAN! YOU VOTED FOR A GODDAMN APE! (PDF, originally published in Esquire in 1968)

Black Magic Mind War

Burroughs interviews David Bowie in 1974

Burroughs interviews Jimmy Page in 1975

Naked Scientology Burroughs on Scientology

Excerpt from Hashisheen: The End of Law

Roger Holden and William S. Burroughs’s “Cybernetic Cut-Ups” – Burroughs’s only known experiments with computers, in collaboration with computer animator Roger Holden.

Lots of Burroughs audio recordings, including him reading the complete text of Junkie

Several cut-up films, created by Burroughs and Gysin

Writings on Burroughs

Interview with James Grauerholz on William S. Burroughs and Magick

Interview with Burroughs documentary maker Yony Leyser

The Death of Joan Vollmer Burroughs: What Really Happened? (long PDF about William and Joan’s relationship)

The Beat Goes On: Acker on Burroughs by Kathy Acker, from 21C Magazine

Wild Girls: Acker rewrites Burroughs by Kathy Acker, from 21C Magazine

David Cronenberg talks about Burroughs


Above: William S. Burroughs Nike commercial

Extensive collection of William S. Burroughs book covers

New Burroughs book covers by Owen Freeman

A web based dream machine

More misc. links

See Also

Brion Gysin

Austin Osman Spare

Genesis P. Orridge


Most of the links above are internal links for 2 reasons:

1. It means I’ll only have to fix deadlinks in one place
2. In case of deadlinks, the original posts usually have at least an excerpt from the original link, so you’ll at least be able to read something.

Please report deadlinks and, better yet, replacement links in the comments