Adrift in Soho

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Adrift in Soho
First Edition
AuthorColin Wilson
CountryUnited Kingdom
PublisherVictor Gollancz
Publication date
Media typePrint (Paperback)

Adrift In Soho is a novel by Colin Wilson. It was first published in England in 1961 by Victor Gollancz. The novel describes the English beat generation.


A coming of age story, the book begins in the summer of 1955, as nineteen-year-old Harry Preston moves to London. Having been granted an early discharge from national service with the RAF, he leaves his provincial English home town to find life and adventure. Fancying himself as a writer, he drifts towards the central district of Soho. Harry meets an out of work actor, James Street. Street introduces Harry to the destitute but creative environment of the new "Beat generation." Harry travels upwards through this new world of not only artists and writers, but con men, counts, and rich literary benefactors, and begins to find his place in the world.[1]

Film adaptation[edit]

A feature-length film adaptation of Adrift in Soho premiered at the Prince Charles Cinema in London on 14 November 2018, returning for a second engagement the following November. Written and directed by Pablo Behrens, it starred Owen Drake, Caitlin Harris, Chris Wellington and Emily Seale-Jones. It was principally filmed in Nottingham, with the Lace Market district doubling for Soho.[2]

The film diverts from the original novel's conceit, with the production of a documentary on Soho by two filmmakers (styled as members of the Free Cinema movement of the period) serving as the framing narrative.[3] Techniques from the movement,[4] including the use of Dziga Vertov’s ‘camera eye’ montage, are used throughout the fictional narrative. The use of the filmmakers is based on Wilson’s own experiences in London, when he was in contact with members of the Free Cinema movement, appearing in one of their short documentaries.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Going Underground". 3:AM Magazine. Retrieved 21 April 2023.
  2. ^ "Uncovering Curiosities: Pablo Behrens' ADRIFT IN SOHO". Movies in Focus. Retrieved 21 April 2023.
  3. ^ "British Council Film: Adrift in Soho". British Council. Retrieved 21 April 2023.
  4. ^ "Adrift in Soho review – tedious times in London's louchest locale". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2023.