Iain Sinclair

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Iain Sinclair was born in 1943 in Cardiff, Wales, and was brought up in Maesteg. He attended school in Wales until, at the beginning of his teenage years, he took a place at Cheltenham College (over the border in England). A formative meeting with the Welsh poet Vernon Watkins (for an interview for a school project on Dylan Thomas) set Sinclair on a ceaseless creative trajectory, attending the London School of Film Technique, then Trinity College Dublin (where he edited Icarus magazine). He and Anna (née Hadman) were married in 1975, and would go on to have three children. Following their wedding, Iain and Anna moved to the island of Gozo (Malta), living there for a few years before settling on a move to London in 1969. Following the move, Sinclair took on a series of part-time jobs, which would become mainstays in early authorial blurbs (parks gardener, brewery worker). In 1970 Sinclair established a publishing house (Albion Village Press) from his home on Albion Drive (Hackney), publishing the early poetry of Chris Torrance, Brian Catling, and J. H. Prynne, as well as his own work, including his breakthrough prose poetry volume Lud Heat (1975). In 1972 Sinclair enrolled for a term at the Courtauld Institute, studying for an MA in fine art. In the mid-1970s, while still publishing and writing poetry, Sinclair began a career as a book dealer, an occupation that he would pursue on and off for the next twenty years. If Lud Heat (and Suicide Bridge, 1979) were early evidence of recurrent themes of Sinclair’s work (myth, history, repulsion and fascination with the city), then his shift to writing fiction in White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings (1987, runner-up in the Guardian Fiction Prize) and Downriver (published 1991, winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1992) cemented his burgeoning reputation for grotesque, sardonic prose. Another novel, Radon Daughters (1994) followed, but Sinclair’s next breakthrough was the acerbic nonfiction, psychogeographical, Lights Out for the Territory (1997). Several more psychogeographies followed as Sinclair become fully ensconced in the “London writing” scene (even if there was a brief foray into his homeland of Wales in Landor’s Tower, 2001). As Sinclair’s London project was reaching a kind of crescendo (somewhat fueled by the controversy surrounding his anti-Olympics Ghost Milk, 2011), Sinclair was plotting the end of his London project, eventually signaled by The Last London (2017).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish and Irish Literature
EditorsAndrew Hadfield
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2022

Publication series

NameOxford Bibliographies
PublisherOxford University Press


  • Iain Sinclair
  • bibliography
  • Psychogeography


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