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Duncan Fallowell

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Title: Duncan Fallowell  
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Subject: PEN/Ackerley Prize, Can (band), April Ashley, Miles Warren, I Want What I Want, The Pursuit of Laughter
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Duncan Fallowell

Duncan Fallowell (born 26 September 1948) is a novelist, travel writer and critic. Born in London, he left Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1970 with a degree in History, and at the age of 21 was given a rock column in the Spectator. He was subsequently the magazine's film critic and fiction critic. During the 1970s he travelled extensively in Europe, India and the Far East, collaborated on the punk glossies Deluxe and Boulevard, and worked with the avant-garde German group Can.

In 1979 he edited a collection of short stories, Drug Tales, and in 1982 published his first book, April Ashley's Odyssey, the biography of a trans-sexual. This was followed by two novels, Satyrday (1986) and The Underbelly (1987). During the 1980s he spent much of his time in the south of France and Sicily, celebrated in the travel book To Noto (1989). His second travel book, One Hot Summer in St Petersburg (1994) was the outcome of an exhilarating but difficult period living in Russia's imperial city.

In the March 2008 edition of Irmin Schmidt, this was first staged in 1998 at the Wuppertal Opera (Germany) which had commissioned it. Schmidt was a member of Can and Fallowell had already written the lyrics to two albums of his songs, Musk at Dusk (1987) and Impossible Holidays (1991).

A third novel, A History of Facelifting (2003),is set in the English countryside and was described by the poet and academic John Fuller as 'a classic of English eccentricity'. A third travel book, Going As Far As I Can (2008), recounted his wanderings through New Zealand - it was controversial but widely admired. He is currently working on two more novels.

Graham Greene did not like his first novel but thought it belonged to the 21st century. William S. Burroughs relished his books and Camille Paglia has described them as ‘mordant, energetic and outrageous’. Jonathan Keates has called Fallowell 'Sebald with laughs,' and Roger Lewis in a recent book dubbed him 'the modern Petronius.'[1] His work is strikingly contemporary for the way it deals with ambivalence and bisexuality.

Fallowell's journalism includes interviews, reviews and essays on a broad range of cultural matters, and he contributes regularly to the intellectual monthly Prospect. He has had columns in the Evening Standard and on the internet magazine The First Post. A collection of interview-profiles, Twentieth Century Characters, was published in 1994. A second collection of profiles and commentaries, Platinum Peepshow, on the subject of art, fashion and entertainment, is in preparation. Fallowell lives in a book-lined flat in London, wants a country retreat, and is planning a book on Brazil. How To Disappear: A Memoir For Misfits was published in September 2011 in a ground-breaking format by Ditto Press; it was awarded the PEN/Ackerley Prize for memoir in July 2012.


External links

  • "The Library", a tour of Fallowell's library, film by Sergey Stefanovich, Jan 29, 2011.

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