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: Paris Trance, The Search, The Colour of Memory, 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 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]



Other works[edit]

  • What Was True: The Photographs and Notebooks of William Gedney (editor, with Margaret Sartor) (2000) ISBN 0-393-04824-1
  • The Selected Essays of John Berger (editor) (2001) ISBN 0-7475-5419-6
  • Granta 79: Celebrity (contributor: Hotel Oblivion)
  • Granta 80: The Group (contributor: On the Roof)[6]
  • Granta 91: Wish You Were Here (Contributor: White Sands)
  • Give Our Regards To The Atomsmashers! (Contributor: Comics In A Man's Life)
  • "In Borges, a Surfeit of Riches", a review of Selected Poems by Jorge Luis Borges, in the San Francisco Chronicle[7]
  • "Space Is the Place", in The Nation.[8]
  • "Albert Camus", from Opencity#9[9] ISBN 1-890447-20-X
  • "The road less familiar", a memoir about being a "scholarly gatecrasher," in The Guardian[10]
  • "Diary: Why Can’t I See You?" London Review of Books 36(7):38, 2014


  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 the Roof"[dead link]
  7. ^ Reviewd by Geoff Dyer (18 April 1999). "In Borges, a Surfeit of Riches". Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  8. ^ "Space Is the Place"[dead link]
  9. ^ "Albert Camus". Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  10. ^ "The road less familiar". London: 8 October 2005. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 

External links[edit]