Adam Thorpe Home


Facebook page:

British Council authors :

Wikipedia page :


Interviews :

with Mark Wormald in Oxford Poetry, 1990

with Sabine Hagenauer, Cologne, 1995

with Nicholas Wroe in the Guardian, 2001

with Bertram Reinecke, 2009


Adam Thorpe’s One-Man Show
by James Hynes
Originally published in the Summer 2003 issue of Boston Review (5,086 words)

‘Adam Thorpe is almost certainly the only major British novelist ever to be named Mime Street Entertainer of the Year by the London weekly Time Out. I mention this because when considering his body of work it helps to know his background as a performer. The prose of many of his contemporaries is readily identifiable—Martin Amis pretty much always sounds like Martin Amis—but Adam Thorpe sounds like somebody new in every book, and sometimes, as in his first novel, Ulverton, somebody new every chapter. This occasionally leads to thinly veiled condescension on the part of his British reviewers, who often mention his gift for “pastiche” or “mimicry” or “ventriloquism,” as if that’s all he’s good at. But there’s something more interesting going on here than mere chameleon cleverness, and I think it has to do with Thorpe’s biography…’

Textual Cinema and Cinematic Text: 

The Ekphrasis of Movement in Adam Thorpe and Samuel Beckett
by H. Martin Puchner  (5,347 words)

‘The impact of the emerging cinema on the established genre of the novel has long become one of the most common topoi of literary criticism, which traces narrative techniques such as montage, sudden shifts in perspective, and close ups to the modernist cause célèbre: the emerging silent film. […] The relation between film and the novel thus has a history of multiple crossings and translations, since both depend on a narrative as well as a visual syntax; it may therefore not come as a surprise that the textual visuality of the novel and the visual narrative of the cinema constitute a closely - at times inextricably-knit web of connections, correspondences, and exchanges. 

Ulverton, the first novel of the contemporary British author Adam Thorpe, engages with this intricate media history of film and text. Like Robbe-Grillet's oeuvre, it participates in the tradition of the cinematic novel, however not by trying to introduce the camera and its visuality into forms of narrative representation, but by using the film's own textual apparatus as a literary form: the last chapter is written entirely as a shooting script for a film, and includes dialogue, camera angles, frames, and sound track. […]
Interestingly enough, Thorpe's next novel does not develop the form of the film script further, even though it constitutes a more direct attempt to engage with the history of the cinema. This next novel, Still, continues Thorpe's literary interest in the cinema, but develops an entirely different textual strategy for integrating film into literature. Still is a novel writing back to the cinema, without either integrating the film's textual form into the novel, as Ulverton had done, or by translating cinematic techniques into narrative strategies, like Robbe-Grillet. In a surprising gesture, the entire novel is presented as a film that is being shown at a New Year's Eve party; an iconoclastic film consisting of text only…’


The Standing Pool
Adam Thorpe talks to The Interview Online about the sinister and the satirical in his new book The Standing Pool
Human: Nature
Adam Thorpe's presentation to the symposium at New Writing Worlds 2008 Human: Nature (Norwich, June 2008).
Why aren't we all running round in panic? In this session Adam opened with a paper on nature and panic, exploring why we're not more visibly shaken about the impact of climate change.

Part 1 of 3 available on YouTube.