Geoff Dyer

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Geoff Dyer
Dyer at the 2015 Texas Book Festival
Dyer at the 2015 Texas Book Festival
Born (1958-06-05) 5 June 1958 (age 64)
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
Alma materCorpus Christi College, Oxford

Geoff Dyer (born 5 June 1958) is an English author. He has written a number of novels and non-fiction books, some of which have won literary awards.

Personal background[edit]

Dyer was born and raised in Cheltenham, England, as the only child of a sheet metal worker father and a school dinner lady mother.[1] He was educated at the local grammar school and won a scholarship to study English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. After graduating from Oxford, he claimed unemployment benefits, and moved into a property in Brixton with other former Oxford students. He credits this period with teaching him the craft of writing.[2] His debut novel, The Colour of Memory, is set in Brixton in the 1980s, the decade that Dyer lived there. The novel has been described as a "fictionalization of Dyer's 20s".[3] He is married to Rebecca Wilson, chief curator at Saatchi Art, Los Angeles. He currently lives in Venice, California.[4] In March 2014, Dyer said he had had a minor stroke earlier in the year, shortly after moving to live in Venice, Los Angeles.[5]

Writing career[edit]

Dyer is the author of the following novels: The Colour of Memory; The Search; Paris Trance; and Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi. He wrote a critical study of John BergerWays of Telling – and two collections of essays: Anglo-English Attitudes and Working the Room. A selection of essays from these collections entitled Otherwise Known as the Human Condition was published in the U.S. in April 2011 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.

Dyer has written the following genre-defying titles: But Beautiful (on jazz); The Missing of the Somme (on the memorialization of the 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); Zona (about Andrei Tarkovsky's 1979 film Stalker); and Broadsword Calling Danny Boy (about Brian G. Hutton's 1968 film Where Eagles Dare). In 2019, Out of Sheer Rage was listed by Slate as one of the 50 greatest nonfiction works of the past 25 years.[6] 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.

His book Another Great Day at Sea (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 United States 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."

Dyer was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2005.[7] In 2014 he was elected as an Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

In 2013 he served as the Bedell Distinguished Visiting Professor[8] at the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program. He now teaches in the PhD program at the University of Southern California.

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: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room. Edinburgh: Canongate.[20]
    • — (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.
  • — (2016). White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World. New York: Pantheon.
  • — (2018). Broadsword Calling Danny Boy. London: Penguin.
  • — (2018). The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand. Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-1477310335.[21]
  • — (2021). See/Saw: Looking at Photographs. Edinburgh: Canongate.
  • — (2022). The Last Days of Roger Federer: And Other Endings. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.[22]

Critical studies and reviews of Dyer's work[edit]


  1. ^ McMahon, James (8 May 2021). "Geoff Dyer: 'I am what you might describe as chippy'". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Gissa job! Writers on the dole". August 2015.
  3. ^ Teicher, Jordan (11 June 2014). "The One and Only Geoff Dyer". LA Review of Books. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  4. ^ Geoff Dyer (29 March 2009). "I am What I am: Geoff Dyer". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  5. ^ Dyer, Geoff Diary London Review of Books, Vol. 36 No. 7 – 3 April 2014.
  6. ^ Miller, Dan Kois, Laura (18 November 2019). "The 50 Best Nonfiction Books of the Past 25 Years". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  7. ^ Royal Society of Literature: Current RSL Fellows (Accessdate 03-06-13) Archived 2 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Geoff Dyer".
  9. ^ "Books / The prize winners of 1992". The Independent. 19 December 1992. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  10. ^ "Society of Authors' Awards". Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Finalist citation for National Book Critics Circle Award". National Book Critics Circle. 1998. Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Lannan Foundation". Lannan Foundation. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  13. ^ Ezard, John (14 January 2004). "Rowling set to win first adult book prize". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  14. ^ a b Editors, The (28 October 2007). "Up Front". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 7 May 2019 – via {{cite news}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  15. ^ "Royal Society of Literature » Geoff Dyer". Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  16. ^ "2006 Infinity Award: Writing". International Center of Photography. 28 April 2006. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  17. ^ Bilmes, Alex (2 September 2009). "Geoff Dyer: Writer of the Year". British GQ. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  18. ^ Flood, Alison (29 May 2009). "Geoff Dyer wins Wodehouse prize for comic fiction". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  19. ^ "Prize Citation for Edmund de Waal". Windham–Campbell Literature Prize. 24 February 2015. Archived from the original on 26 February 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  20. ^ On Tarkovsky's movie Stalker
  21. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (12 March 2018). "The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand by Geoff Dyer review – supremo of the 60s sidewalk". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  22. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: The Last Days of Roger Federer: And Other Endings by Geoff Dyer. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-0-374-60556-8". Retrieved 24 February 2022.

External links[edit]