Adam Thorpe

Adam Thorpe (born 5 December 1956, Paris, France) is a British poet and novelist whose works also include short stories, translations, radio dramas and documentaries. He is a frequent contributor of reviews and articles to various newspapers, journals and magazines, including the Guardian, the Poetry Review and the Times Literary Supplement.

Adam Thorpe
Born5 December 1956 (age 62)
Paris, France
Occupationnovelist, poet, playwright, translator, reviewer


Adam Thorpe was born in Paris and grew up in India, Cameroon and England. Graduating from Oxford's Magdalen College in 1979, he founded a touring theatre company, then settled in London to teach drama and English literature. He spoused Joanna Wistreich, an English teacher, in 1985; they had three children,[1] and they now live in France.

His writing has garnered recognition throughout his career, and has been translated into many languages. His first collection of poetry, Mornings in the Baltic (1988), was shortlisted that year for the Whitbread Poetry Award. His first novel, Ulverton (1992), an episodic work covering 350 years of English rural history, won critical acclaim worldwide, including that of the novelist John Fowles, who reviewed it in The Guardian as:

"...the most interesting first novel I have read these last years".[2]

The novel was awarded the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize for 1992.

Karl Ove Knausgård, author of the internationally acclaimed bestseller My Struggle, stated during a reading in Washington DC that, "My favourite... English novel is by Adam Thorpe called Ulverton... a brilliant, very, very good and very unBritish novel... It's magic, a magic book."[3]

Hilary Mantel has recently written: "There is no contemporary I admire more than Adam Thorpe, whose novel Ulverton is a late twentieth century masterpiece."[4]

In 2007 Thorpe was shortlisted for prizes in three respective genres: the Forward Poetry Prize, the BBC National Short Story Award and the South Bank Show Award for the year's best novel (Between Each Breath). His novel Hodd (2009), a darker version of the Robin Hood legend in the form of a medieval document, was shortlisted for the inaugural Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction in 2010. His sixth poetry collection, Voluntary (2012), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

His 2012 novel, the literary thriller Flight, was described by D. J. Taylor in the Guardian as confirming "a long-held impression that Thorpe is one of the most underrated writers on the planet."[5]

Thorpe started his career as an actor, and is the author of many BBC radio dramas starring, among others, Tara Fitzgerald, Sian Phillips and Patrick Malahide; his one-stage play, Couch Grass and Ribbon, written almost entirely in Berkshire dialect, was performed at the Watermill Theatre, Berkshire, in 1996.

Using period language, he has translated two great nineteenth-century French novels for Vintage Classics: Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Zola's Thérèse Raquin.[6]

His first work of non-fiction, On Silbury Hill, described by Paul Farley in the Guardian as "a rich and evocative book of place",[7] was Book of the Week on Radio 4 in August 2014.



  • Mornings in the Baltic (Secker and Warburg, 1988)
  • Meeting Montaigne (Secker, 1990)
  • From the Neanderthal (Cape, 1999)
  • Nine Lessons from the Dark (Cape, 2003)
  • Birds with a Broken Wing (Cape, 2007)[8]
  • Voluntary (Cape, 2012)


  • Ulverton (Secker, 1992; Vintage Classics, 2010)
  • Still (Secker, 1995)[9] Textual Cinema and Cinematic Text: The Ekphrasis of Movement in Adam Thorpe and Samuel Beckett by H Martin Puchner (New York).
  • Pieces of Light (Cape, 1998)
  • Nineteen Twenty-One (Cape, 2001)
  • No Telling (Cape, 2003)
  • The Rules of Perspective (Cape, 2005)[10] New York Observer review by Adam Begley: "It tickles the brain and batters the heart."
  • Between Each Breath (Cape, 2007)
  • The Standing Pool (Cape, 2008)
  • Hodd (Cape, 2009)
  • Flight (Cape, 2012)
  • Missing Fay (Cape, 2017)

Short story collections

  • Shifts (Cape, 2000)
  • Is This the Way You Said? (Cape, 2006)[11] "In Is This The Way You Said? we see the perfection of deprecation, spurred by wit, watered by pity, fed by observation. It's marvellous..."



  • Madame Bovary (Vintage Classics, 2011)
  • Thérèse Raquin (Vintage Classics, 2013)[12]

Radio Dramas

  • The Fen Story (1991)
  • Offa's Daughter (1993)[13]
  • Couch Grass and Ribbon (1996)
  • An Envied Place (2002)
  • Nought Happens Twice Thus [2003]
  • Himmler's Boy (2004)[14]

Prizes and awards

Notes and references

  1. ^ Meritt Moseley, British novelists since 1960, Detroit, Gale Group, 2001, p. 268.
  2. ^ John Fowles, "Thank the Gods for Bloody Mindedness" (review of Ulverton), the Guardian, May 28, 1992, p. 25.
  3. ^ "Karl Ove Knausgaard Reads from "My Struggle: Book One" Webcast". Library of Congress. August 7, 2014 [event 2 May 2012]. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  4. ^ Guiducci, Mark. "5 of Vogue's Favorite Novelists Tell Us What They're Reading This Summer". Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  5. ^ Taylor, D. J. (4 May 2012). "Flight by Adam Thorpe – review". Retrieved 21 April 2017 – via The Guardian.
  6. ^ [1] "an unusual freshness"
  7. ^ Farley, Paul (17 July 2014). "On Silbury Hill review – 'a rich and evocative book of place'". Retrieved 21 April 2017 – via The Guardian.
  8. ^ [2] Review by Alison Brackenbury: "Adam Thorpe’s poems are grounded in a quiet of profound strength. They can also take flight. This is an admirable combination."
  9. ^ [3]
  10. ^ "Art Class in the Rubble- A War Novel Eyes Beauty". 20 March 2006. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  11. ^ "Latitude 2014: Redefining the music festival". 11 July 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  12. ^ [4]"an unusual freshness".
  13. ^ [5] "a gripping psychodrama"
  14. ^ [6]"Every scene felt quietly real, for all the rush of social change and infinite cruelty just beyond it."
  15. ^ "Booker rivals clash again on Walter Scott prize shortlist", the Guardian, 2 Apr 2010

External links

1985 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1985.

1992 in literature

This article presents lists of literary events and publications in 1992.

Colin Falck

Colin Falck (born 14 July 1934) is a literary critic and poet. He was associate professor in modern literature at York College of Pennsylvania.

In 1962 Falck co-founded the influential postwar British poetry magazine The Review with Oxford University schoolmates Ian Hamilton, Michael Fried, and John Fuller. Falck's poetry would later appear in the first issue of Hamilton's magazine The New Review. In January 1985 he set up, and has from that date acted as chair of, the Thurlow Road Poetry Workshop. Among the poets to have brought their work to the fortnightly (now monthly) meetings of the group are Hugo Williams, Jo Shapcott, Ruth Padel, Eva Salzman, Adam Thorpe, Michael Donaghy, Don Paterson, Jane Duran and Vicki Feaver.

His 1989 treatise Myth, Truth and Literature: Towards a True Postmodernism, attempted to re-think the entire foundation of Romantic art criticism since Kant. The first chapter is a sustained polemic against what Falck argued was the nihilism and ontological emptiness of post-modernism and post-structuralist literary theory. The next chapter offers, in opposition to Saussure, a theory of the origin of language based on onomatopoeia. One critic said:He offers a Neo-Romantic, expressivist view influenced by Shelley. His view is not self-expressivist, however, since it denies the epistemological notion of a detached subject and situates the human being in the world in the manner of modern phenomenology...Art, for Falck, gives ontological truth. The book makes constant reference to Kant, Coleridge, Schiller, Shelley, Blake, Keats and Goethe. Author Camille Paglia hailed the book as "reveal[ing] the future of literary criticism."Falck criticized W. H. Auden's didactic theory of poetry: "Responsible poetry therefore becomes a kind of war-time fruit-cake, with the raisins of escape thinly distributed in a daily bread of parable."

Eric Gregory Award

The Eric Gregory Award is a literary award given by the Society of Authors to British poets under 30 on submission. The awards are up to a sum value of £24,000 annually.

The award is the result of a bequest made in 1959 by Eric Craven Gregory (also known as Peter Gregory), chairman of publishers Lund Humphries, from his estate to the Incorporated Society of Authors, Playwrights and Composers to form the "Eric Gregory Trust Fund" for the benefit and encouragement of young poets who are British subjects.


Groupshift is a phenomenon in which the initial positions of individual members of a group are exaggerated toward a more extreme position. When people are in groups, they make decisions about risk differently from when they are alone. In the group, they are likely to make riskier decisions, as the shared risk makes the individual risk less.

Hart Jessup

Hart Jessup is a fictional character from the daytime soap opera Guiding Light on and off from 1991 to 1999.


Hodd may refer to:

Andrew Hodd, an English cricketer

IL Hødd, a sports club in Norway

Hodd, a 2009 book by Adam Thorpe

Hodd Hill, a fort in Blackmore Vale

Norman Hodd, an archdeacon of Blackburn

How to Live (biography)

How to Live, or a life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer, by Sarah Bakewell, was published by Chatto & Windus in 2010, and by Other Press on September 20, 2011. It is about the life of 16th century nobleman, wine grower, and essayist Michel Eyquem de Montaigne. In it, Bakewell "roughly maps out Montaigne's life against the questions he raises along the way," drawing the answers to these questions from his Essays.

Jane Griffiths (poet)

Jane Griffiths (born 1970) is a British poet and literary historian.

Lorraine Gamman

Lorraine Patricia Gamman (July 1957) is professor of design at the Design Against Crime Research Centre at Central Saint Martins in the University of the Arts, London which she founded in 1999.

Her taking of the oral history of professional shoplifter Shirley Pitts as part of her PhD kindled her interest in oral history as a form and lead to her book Gone shopping: The story of Shirley Pitts, Queen of thieves. In 2012, the production company Tiger Aspect bought an option to acquire the television and film rights to the book.

Millette Alexander

Millette Alexander is an American actress and concert pianist, best known for having played Dr. Sara McIntyre Gantry Werner Blackford Thorpe on The Guiding Light from January 1969 to January 1983. She was the third and best-known actress to have portrayed the popular role. She also is known for her three roles on television's The Edge of Night and for having played Sylvia Hill Suker, R. N. on As the World Turns.

Alexander originally was interested in being a concert pianist, but turned her attention to acting. She majored in theater from Northwestern University.Alexander is best remembered for playing three different characters on The Edge of Night in the 1950s and 1960s. Those characters were named, Gail Armstrong (1958–1959), a commercial artist; Laura Hathaway Hillyer (1966–1967), a socialite, married to Orin Hillyer; and lastly, her long-lost identical twin sister, Julie (Hathaway) Jamison Hubbard Hillyer (1967–1968). Following her first soap opera role was as gun moll, Gloria Saxon on the short-lived series, From These Roots. When The Edge of Night was casting its lead female role Sara Lane in 1956, Millette was offered the role, but declined. She did not want to commit to the role which was to be a longtime commitment. She was later to play three very diverse roles (including one of the first dual roles on daytime television) which she enjoyed. She also played on As the World Turns from 1964 to 1966 in the role of nurse, Sylvia Hill Suker.

Alexander also assumed the role of Dr. Sara McIntyre #3 on the serial The Guiding Light from January 1969 until January 1983, playing the adoptive mother of character T.J. Werner, a role portrayed by T.J. Hargrave (1974–1978) and later by Kevin Bacon (1980–1981), Christopher Marcantel (1981) and finally by Nigel Reed (1981–1982). Her character was married to Lee Gantry, Dr. Joe Werner, Dean Blackford and Adam Thorpe (father of infamous Roger Thorpe). The role had been created by actress Patricia Roe. Her character was written out of the storyline offscreen when Alexander left the show of her own accord. The move coincided with Alexander's wish to pursue the piano full-time professionally, with her duo-piano partner Frank Daykin.

Millette's children are Adam, William and Jennifer. She is also a grandmother.

She was the daughter-in-law of Oscar Hammerstein II before she divorced her husband.

The piano duo Alexander and Daykin has performed in Paris' Salle Gaveau and New York's Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall (three times) to critical acclaim. They have recorded two CDs for Connoisseur Society: Bach's "Die Kunst der Fuge" (winner of American Record Guide 10 Best New Releases of 1996), and "Paris Originals" (20th-century French masterworks for four hands). The New York Times said: "They make music as one." And the Toronto Citizen, in a review of the Bach CD hailed them as "surely one of the finest piano duos in the world today."

Millette Alexander is the founder of Chamber Music Central, a summer chamber music camp for children in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

On Silbury Hill

On Silbury Hill is a book by Adam Thorpe published in 2014 by Little Toller Books.His first work of non-fiction, it is inspired by Silbury Hill and was described by Paul Farley in the Guardian as "a rich and evocative book of place".The book was featured on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week programme in August 2014, read by the author. It was shortlisted for the inaugural Wainwright Prize.

Robert Milli

Robert Milli (born March 15, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American television actor.

He is perhaps best known for his long-running portrayal of Adam Thorpe on the CBS soap Guiding Light, a role he played from 1972-1981, briefly reprising the role on numerous occasions during the late 1980s and early 1990s. He originated the role of Dr. Jim Craig on the ABC soap One Life to Live, playing the role from 1968 to 1969, and also appeared on a number of other soaps, including Another World, Somerset, All My Children, and Love is a Many Splendored Thing. He also played Horatio in Richard Burton's Hamlet, and had a small part in Klute. He has also guest starred in the series Spenser for Hire, and Law & Order.

Sarah Bakewell

Sarah Bakewell (born 1962/63) is a British author of non-fiction. She currently lives in London. She received the Windham–Campbell Literature Prize in Non-Fiction.


Ulverton is the first novel by British author Adam Thorpe. The work recounts 300 years of history in the fictional village of Ulverton, stylistically representing the literary eras of the day. The novel won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize in 1992.

Vexed Generation

Vexed Generation is a British menswear brand founded by designers Joe Hunter and Adam Thorpe.

Thorpe studied Microbiology at Kingston University and Hunter graduated as a graphic designer from Middlesex University in 1990.Launched in 1994 the brand produced a range of garments that were designed for and addressed an urban environment and associated environmental issues including air pollution, surveillance, and civil liberties. They used a range of military and technological fabrics including high-tenacity ballistic cloths, and knife-proof and bullet-proof fabrics.The brand is also known for its creation of a series of conceptual retail spaces and shops from 1994 onwards that questioned the process and function of the fashion retail environment. in 2003 a partnership with PUMA was announced to create two new apparel lines for Puma, Martial Arts and Urban Mobility, which would be launched for their men's 2004 Autumn Collection and continued for a number of years.After a number of years working on other partnerships and collaborations, in 2017 it was announced that the brand would create a new range of garments for Autumn/Winter 2018.

W11 Opera

W11 Opera is an independent opera company in London which produces operas performed by young people aged 9 to 18. Founded in 1971, it takes its name from its location in W11, a postal district in West London consisting largely of Notting Hill and parts of Holland Park.

Almost all of the productions are new works created by internationally recognised composers such as George Fenton, John Gardner, Richard Harvey, and Colin Towns. Some of these works go on to be revived by schools and other opera companies.

Notable alumni of the company include Eve Best, Jonathan Antoine and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

Walter Scott Prize

The Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction is a British literary award founded in 2010. At £25,000, it is one of the largest literary awards in the UK. The award was created by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, whose ancestors were closely linked to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott, who is generally considered the originator of historical fiction with the novel Waverley in 1814.Eligible books must have been first published in the UK, Ireland or Commonwealth in the preceding year. For the purpose of the award, historical fiction is defined as being that where the main events take place more than 60 years ago, i.e. outside of any mature personal experience of the author. The winner is announced each June at the Borders Book Festival in Melrose.

Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize

The Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize was presented from 1967 until 2003 by the Royal Society of Literature for the best regional novel of the year. It is named after the novelist Winifred Holtby who was noted for her novels set in the rural scenes of her childhood.

In 2003 it was superseded by the Ondaatje Prize.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.