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Alan specialises in creative writing and modern literature. Modules he teaches or lectures on include:

  • Understanding Prose
  • Varieties of Fiction
  • Modernism and After
  • Writing Short Fiction for Publication
  • Writing Novels for Publication
  • Getting Published
  • The Writing Project

Postgraduate supervision:

He welcomes enquiries about research projects on:

  • Modern English and American fiction and poetry
  • Creative writing (fiction, poetry)


Alan is an internationally acclaimed novelist and short story writer. His works have been translated into ten languages and published in eleven countries. His work has been reviewed and written about extensively. A chapter was devoted to his work in Routledge's Contemporary British Novelists.

He has been given many prizes and awards for both his fiction and his poetry. In January 2000 he received a major Royal Literary Fund award to enable him to complete The School of Night. He received two consecutive Royal Literary Fund Teaching Fellowships to teach at Warwick University and Liverpool John Moores. In 2003 he was given an AHRB/Arts Council Fellowship to research with the Reader in High Energy Physics at Birmingham University, Goronwy Tudor Jones. This work resulted in the publication of Myth, Metaphor and Science.

His book of poetry Jacob was shortlisted for the Hawthornden Prize, and has recently been republished.


Published Work

The following is a list of his major fiction titles: Bless the Thief, Secker and Warburg, 1997; Silent Conversations, Secker and Warburg, 1998; Richard Dadd in Bedlam, Secker and Warburg, 1999;The Lightning Cage, Secker and Warburg, 1999; The School of Night, Secker and Warburg, January 2001; China, Secker and Warburg, April 2003; Sylvie’s Riddle, Quartet, 2008. In addition, stories have appeared in London Magazine, The Jewish Quarterly, Waterstone's Magazine, The Richmond Review, Fantastic Metropolis, Fiction Uncovered, Paraxis, Black Static. Stories and a novella have been appearing in Asimov’s Science Fiction, in 2012 and 2013.

Alan is also a poet, and has of late concentrated on publishing poetry along with non-fiction. The following are his major poetry publications: Jacob, Bellew, 1993 (shortlisted for the Hawthornden Prize); Alexander Pope at Twickenham, Shearsman 2008; Gilgamesh, Shearsman, 2008; Doctor Placebo, Shearsman, 2010; Endtimes, Shearsman, was launched at Swedenborg House in London in March 2013, to considerable acclaim. Poems and translations have also appeared in Stand, PN Review, Agenda, The Spectator and BBC Wildlife Magazine.

Alan has reviewed regularly for many journals and magazines, including The Spectator, The Guardian, Agenda, PN Review, The Jewish Quarterly, The London Magazine, English, the THES, Poetry London, The Art Newspaper, The Literary Review, and Fortnightly Review.

His Writing Fiction was published by Harper Collins in 2007.

His essays have been widely published in The Jerusalem Review, London Magazine and PN Review. ‘Grub Street' appeared in Disappearances of London (Hamish Hamilton, 2006 and Penguin 2007); ‘Extremities of Perception' in Leonardo (MIT Press, 2007). His essays are currently appearing in The Fortnightly Review, and will appear as a book, Labyrinths and Clues, late in 2013. Another set of essays concerning the history of language have been appearing in The Reader, Ready Steady Book, and elsewhere. They will be published as a book late in 2013 or early in 2014.  

Alan published the novel Badmouth in 2014. It was described as 'thrilling' in The Times. He has just completed his trilogy of books of essays for the Fortnightly Review. These are Labyrinths and Clues, Walter Benjamin: An Arcade of Reflections, and Midnight of the Sublime

Alan was elected a Fellow of the English Association in 2012, in recognition of the importance of his published work.