Geoff Dyer

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For the Australian painter, see Geoffrey Dyer.
Geoff Dyer
Geoff Dyer 2011 NBCC Awards 2012 Shankbone 2.JPG
Born (1958-06-05) 5 June 1958 (age 57)
Cheltenham, England
Residence London
Nationality British
Alma mater Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Home town Cheltenham

Geoff Dyer (born 5 June 1958) is an English writer. He is the author of four novels and seven books of non-fiction, which have won a number of literary awards and been translated into 24 languages. He has been described as "one of our greatest living critics, not of the arts but of life itself, and one of our most original writers" (by Kathryn Schulz in New York Magazine).[1]

Personal background[edit]

Dyer was born and raised in Cheltenham as the only child of a sheet-metal worker father and a school dinner lady mother. He was educated at the local Grammar School and won a scholarship to study English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He is married to Rebecca Wilson, Chief Curator at Saatchi Art, Los Angeles.[2] In March 2014, Dyer revealed that he had had a minor stroke earlier in the year, shortly after moving to live in Venice, California.[3]

Writing career[edit]

Geoff Dyer is the author of four novels: The Colour of Memory, The Search, Paris Trance, and, most recently, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; a critical study of John Berger, Ways of Telling; three collections of essays, Anglo-English Attitudes, Working the Room and Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (a selection from the previous two essay collections published in the US); and six genre-defying titles: But Beautiful (on jazz), The Missing of the Somme (on the memorization of First World War), Out of Sheer Rage (about D H Lawrence), Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It, The Ongoing Moment (on photography), and Zona (about Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker). He is the editor of John Berger: Selected Essays and co-editor, with Margaret Sartor, of What Was True: The Photographs and Notebooks of William Gedney.

A selection of essays from Anglo-English Attitudes and Working the Room entitled Otherwise Known as the Human Condition was published in the US in April 2011 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.

His most recent book, Another Great Day at Sea (published in May 2014), chronicles Dyer’s experiences on the USS George H.W. Bush, where he was writer-in-residence for two weeks. It has been described by David Finkel, author of Thank You for Your Service, as "what we’ve all come to expect from Geoff Dyer—another great book. I loved everything about it. It’s brilliantly observed, beautifully written, incisive, funny, and filled with stirring truths about life and the value of service.” Billy Collins, the former US Poet Laureate and author of Aimless Love, said: “Geoff Dyer has managed to do again what he does best: insert himself into an exotic and demanding environment (sometimes, his own flat, but here, the violent wonders of an aircraft carrier) and file a report that mixes empathetic appreciation with dips into brilliant comic deflation. Welcome aboard the edifying and sometimes hilarious ship Dyer.”

Geoff Dyer was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2005.[4] In 2014 he was elected as an Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

In the fall semester of 2012 he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa, and in the fall semester of 2013 he was a Visiting Professor at Columbia University, New York.

For a lengthy discussion of Geoff Dyer's books see James Wood's essay "From Venice to Varanasi - Geoff Dyer's Wandering Eye" The New Yorker, 20 April 2009.

Awards and honours[edit]



  • Dyer, Geoff (1986). Ways of telling : the work of John Berger. London: Pluto Press. 
  • — (1989). The colour of memory. London: Jonathan Cape. 
  • — (1991). But beautiful : a book about jazz. London: Jonathan Cape. 
  • — (1993). The search. London: Hamish Hamilton. 
  • — (1994). The missing of the Somme. London: Hamish Hamilton. 
  • — (1997). Out of sheer rage : in the shadow of D.H. Lawrence. London: Little, Brown. 
    • U.S. edition: Out of sheer rage : wrestling with D.H. Lawrence. U.S. edition. New York: North Point Press. 1998. 
  • — (1998). Paris trance. London: Abacus. 
  • — (1999). Anglo-English attitudes : essays, reviews, misadventures 1984-99. London: Abacus. 
  • Sartor, Margaret; Dyer, Geoff, eds. (2000). What was true : the photographs and notebooks of William Gedney. New York: Center for Documentary Studies. 
  • Berger, John (2001). Dyer, Geoff, ed. Selected essays. London: Bloomsbury. 
  • Dyer, Geoff (2003). Yoga for people who can't be bothered to do it. London: Time Warner. 
  • — (2005). The ongoing moment. London: Little, Brown. 
  • — (2009). Jeff in Venice, death in Varanasi. Edinburgh: Canongate. 
  • — (2010). Working the room : essays and reviews, 1999-2010. Edinburgh: Canongate. 
  • — (2011). Otherwise known as the human condition : selected essays and reviews, 1989-2010. Minneapolis, MN: Graywolf Press. 
  • — (2012). The colour of memory. Rev. and updated ed. Edinburgh: Canongate. 
  • — (2012). Zona. Edinburgh: Canongate. [6]
  • — (2012). Zona : a book about a film about a journey to a room. U.S. edition. New York: Pantheon. 
  • — (2014). Another great day at sea : life aboard the USS George H.W. Bush. Photographs by Chris Steele-Perkins. New York: Pantheon. 

Essays and reporting[edit]

  • Dyer, Geoff (n.d.). "Albert Camus". Open City 9 (Bewitched): 23–38. Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  • — (1994). "Comics in a man's life". In Howe, Sean. Give our regards to the atomsmashers! : writers on comics. New York: Pantheon Books. 
  • — (Autumn 2002). "Hotel Oblivion". Granta 79 (Celebrity). 
  • — (Winter 2002). "On the roof". Granta 80 (The Group). Retrieved 2015-07-22. 
  • — (Autumn 2005). "White Sands". Granta 91 (Wish You Were Here). 
  • — (8 October 2005). "The road less familiar". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  • — (November 2012). "A brief period of rejoicing : never mind the European meltdown, here's the Olympics!". Letter from London. Harper's Magazine 325 (1950): 42–51. 
  • — (3 April 2014). "Why can't I see you?". Diary. London Review of Books 36 (7). Retrieved 2015-07-28. 

Book reviews[edit]

Date Review article Work(s) reviewed
18 April 1999 Dyer, Geoff (18 April 1999). "In Borges, a surfeit of riches". San Francisco Chronicle (sfgate). Retrieved 2015-07-23.  Borges, Jorge Luis (1999). Alexander Coleman, ed. Selected poems. New York: Viking. 


  1. ^ New York Magazine
  2. ^ He currently lives in Venice, California. Geoff Dyer (29 March 2009). "I am What I am: Geoff Dyer". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 2011-05-09. 
  3. ^ Dyer, Geoff Diary London Review of Books, Vol. 36 No. 7 · 3 April 2014.
  4. ^ Royal Society of Literature: Current RSL Fellows (Accessdate 03-06-13)
  5. ^ "Prize Citation for Edmund de Waal". Windham–Campbell Literature Prize. February 24, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2015. 
  6. ^ On Tarkovsky's movie Stalker

External links[edit]