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A Fat Man on a Beach: Conflicting Horizons in B.S. Johnson’s Work

Un gros bonhomme sur une plage: horizons conflictuels dans l’œuvre de B.S. Johnson
Vanessa Guignery
p. 41-52


Cet article propose d’analyser la coexistence de deux horizons apparemment très différents dans l’œuvre de B.S. Johnson: d’une part, une quête utopique de la vérité que l’auteur s’efforce de saisir de façon aussi fidèle que possible dans ses textes et ses films, tout en sachant qu’il ne pourrait jamais totalement l’embrasser, et d’autre part, un intérêt pour des objets et sujets très proches de lui, inscrits dans les limites de sa propre vie, de son propre passé, de ses propres expériences. L’essai se penche sur ce mouvement paradoxal d’ouverture et de fermeture dans la dernière production de Johnson, Fat Man on a Beach, film très original de trente minutes, tourné à peine deux semaines avant qu’il ne se suicide. Le film exhibe son honnêteté et sa sincérité absolues en mettant à nu ses mécanismes et en défamiliarisant les pratiques du spectateur, et en même temps met en évidence l’attitude solipsiste de Johnson qui se concentre sur ses expériences et obsessions personnelles. La comparaison entre la fin du roman Trawl et la scène finale élégiaque du film révèle à quel point l’engagement de Johnson pour la vérité impliquait une mise à l’épreuve de ses propres limites.

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Texte intégral

I may reach a point
one reaches a point
where all I might have to say
where all that one has to say
would be that life is bloody awful
is that the human condition is intolerable
but that I would not end it
but one resolves to go on
despite everything
despite everything.
JOHNSON, “Distance Piece”, 57.

1B.S. Johnson (1933–1973), one of the most radical representatives of the literary avant-garde of the 1960s in Britain, is well-known for his uncompromising criticism of twentieth-century imitations of the traditional Victorian novel still relying on exhausted forms of story-telling, and for his plea in favour of innovation in all artistic areas. A late modernist or a proto-postmodernist, Johnson was a great admirer of Sterne, Joyce and Beckett, and shared some of the beliefs of the French writers of the Nouveau Roman, such as Alain Robbe-Grillet, Claude Simon or Nathalie Sarraute. He judged the British literary scene ‘stultifyingly philistine’ (1973, 29) because of its essentially conventional realistic aesthetics, and considered that only a few of his contemporaries were not ‘shackled by tradition’ (1973, 29). Such was the case of fellow experimentalists such as John Berger, Christine Brooke-Rose, Brigid Brophy, Anthony Burgess, Eva Figes or Ann Quin. Johnson was also committed to innovation in his films and documentaries, and valued the fact that ‘directors such as Godard, Resnais, and Antonioni no longer make the chief point of their films a story’ (1973, 13).

2The last film Johnson wrote, Fat Man on a Beach, certainly does not ‘rely on the crutch of story-telling’ (1973, 15) and is striking for its inventive radicality. It was shot in Porth Ceiriad Bay in Northern Wales, on the Lleyn peninsula, two weeks before he committed suicide on 13 November 1973. This is the place where Johnson spent three consecutive summers, from 1959 to 1961, a place associated with his fascination for the Mother Goddess, and which became the setting for his first novel, Travelling People. The film ends on a helicopter shot of Johnson determinedly walking into the sea, fully clothed, and then being lost in the waves, while the helicopter climbs to give a high shot of the bay and the deserted beach. Before that, this very personal and buoyant thirty-minute film about a fat man wandering about a beach alternates between disjointed shots of Johnson—talking directly to the audience, reciting lyrical poems, recounting personal anecdotes, making jokes and expounding his theory about truth—and views of the sea, the beach, the headland, the cliffs, waves on rocks, seagulls in the sky, but also odd shots of a bunch of bananas, a dead sheep, rubber inflatable toy whales and an outsize paperclip. This alternation of high shots, mid shots and close ups, as well as the varying scope of subject matter and modes, are emblematic of the multiple angles from which one can approach Johnson’s artistic production as a whole, as a screenwriter and film director, but also as a novelist, playwright and poet.

3While considering Johnson’s work, one may feel a tension between on the one hand his conception of truth which is his artistic ideal, his utopian quest, what could be called his ‘horizon’ which, by definition, is unattainable, and on the other hand the areas he has chosen to dwell on which could be considered as relatively confined spaces, i.e. primarily the limits of his own self, his own past, his own obsessions, but also bleak or morbid manifestations of the human condition, be it the physical and mental deficiencies of elderly people in House Mother Normal or the decay and disintegration caused by cancer in The Unfortunates or by old age in the play You’re Human Like the Rest of Them. For Johnson, the horizon does not have the traditional connotations of exoticism, of a journey to faraway lands, or the appeal of imaginary worlds. Even if he had a few spiritual or mystical experiences, his work is mostly grounded in the concrete, the local or kept within the confines of his own mind, which are all his own very specific horizons. One may wonder what type of balance Johnson achieves between these two apparently very distinct aspects of his work, i.e. his aiming for the unattainable horizon of truth on the one hand and the relative confinement of his subject matters on the other hand. While keeping in mind Johnson’s seven novels and his theoretical principles, this paper will more particularly focus on his valedictory film, Fat Man on a Beach, so as to try and determine to what extent it might be considered as emblematic of this paradoxical opening and closing, and to see whether it is consistent with his various literary commitments.

The Horizon of Truth

4B.S. Johnson’s famous motto, pronounced in the fourth part of Albert Angelo, is ‘telling stories is telling lies’ (2004, 167). He therefore decided to renounce fiction and ‘write truth in the form of a novel’ (1973, 14). To quote Jean-Michel Ganteau, ‘Johnson’s vision of literature seems to postulate an ideal horizon of verisimilitude that is truth’ (107). Johnson’s ethics of truth or fidelity to that idea (Guignery 2007, 52–54) does not entail some form of absolute truth but rather a subjective one, closely related to his own self and personal experience. Yet, even in these circumstances, Johnson’s ideal quest for truth sounds utopian or even suspect, especially at a time—that of structuralism and deconstructionism—when it was deemed impossible to convey truth via such an unreliable medium as language, when truth itself was considered as a discursive construct and when referential genres were said to make use of rhetorical and narrative processes specific to fiction. It is therefore clear that Johnson’s horizon of truth could never be reached, that the line would for ever remain asymptotic, but while being fully aware of that inaccessibility, the writer nevertheless always attempted to get nearer to that vanishing line, that mirage on the horizon, particularly through the development of several formal procedures which were meant to convey as nearly as possible the truth of his experience, of the chaos of the world or of the mechanisms of the mind and memory.

5Structurally, Fat Man on a Beach is a very disjointed film, with no logical continuity but a juxtaposition of seemingly random shots and topics. As Alan Burns remarks, spontaneity, chance and arbitrariness played a role in the film even though ‘the accident was just sufficiently contrived’ (164). The speaker wonders at one point: ‘Why does [a film] have to be neat and tidy and logical, because life is not neat and tidy and logical’ (168). By making his film discontinuous and fragmented, Johnson was trying to propose an inventive form that would truthfully reflect the chaotic dimension of life itself, an enterprise that modernist artists had also embraced in the aftermath of the first World War and of the new scientific premises pertaining to the notion of entropy: ‘today what characterizes our reality is the probability that chaos is the most likely explanation’ (Johnson 1973, 17). The filmmaker was thereby following Samuel Beckett’s precept: ‘to find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now’ (in Johnson 1973, 17), that is the horizon Johnson was aiming for.

6In his novels, another means of flaunting the writer’s commitment to truth consisted in deconstructing the traditional fictional strategy of suspension of disbelief, exposing the mechanisms of his books and making sure the reader never forgot he was doing anything but reading a novel (1973a, 21). He adopted similar metaleptic strategies in Fat Man on a Beach, for example starting his film with a direct and honest statement of the main subject: ‘This is a film about a fat man on a beach. / Did you hear what I said?—This is a film about a fat man on a beach. / Do you really want to sit there and watch it? / Well don’t say I didn’t warn you’ (149). At the end of the film, he admits the spectator might not know much more about the Lleyn peninsula but he insists on his full honesty: ‘at least we haven’t pretended to be doing anything than making a film about it’ (180). Following the same principle of sincerity, when Johnson is about to read some poems, he warns the viewers quite bluntly: ‘I’m going to read some more poems now. It may be that if you want to go and have a cup of tea this would be a good time. I know that’s what you masses are like. The mention of poetry and off you go’ (170–171). This disparaging remark which is nevertheless very humorous, enables Johnson to truthfully expose and defamiliarise reading and viewing practices of which he disapproved. A similar process is at work later on when the camera twice wanders away from a close up of Johnson recounting an anecdote to propose shots of the beach and the sea. Just as for poetry earlier on, Johnson guesses that the audience’s attention is probably declining, as reflected by the movement of the camera, and therefore gently chides the spectator for his or her lack of proper attention, maybe a hint at what tended to plague Johnson’s own work: ‘can I have your attention please? Just a moment, come back please’ (174) ; ‘This is an interesting story I am telling you—you keep wandering off ! Anyone would think we were making a film for the masses where they have to be entertained every second !’ (175). This allusion to the ‘masses’ which had already been made in relation to poetry is certainly amusing because of its bluntness but it also recalls Johnson’s recurrent heartfelt complaints about the standards and expectations of the general public, which he considered low and conservative, just like those of most critics and writers of the time, while he himself set high standards for his art and was looking for new ways and forms to ‘embody present-day reality’ (1973, 16). There might also be an ironic twist in the fact that the audience is apparently losing interest when the speaker is telling a story given that Johnson repeatedly rejected story-telling as deceitful and obsolete, although one may argue that the story he is telling at that moment is autobiographical and therefore supposedly true.

7Truthfulness as to the medium in Fat Man on a Beach also led Johnson to keep the false starts, imperfect cues and corrections which a conventional director would have cut, retaining only the final and clean version. Thus, Johnson says at one point: ‘You’ll notice the weather changes a bit from time to time. Where the hell are we though? We still haven’t decided where we are. (Can I start that again...) You’ll notice the weather changes quite a lot in this picture. Where the hell are we though?’ (152–153). Later on, a light bulb explodes in the middle of one of his sentences, but Johnson keeps the sequence and remarks: ‘now one of the lights has gone, so probably you can’t see very much at all’ (154). When an airplane comes up and drowns the sound of his own voice, he comments on it and retains the scene. These sequences, together with the photograph of the film crew shown to the camera (151) and later on the view of the crew in a mirror (178), suggest that Johnson is as interested in truthfully exposing the mechanisms of film-making, including the hiccups, as in the film itself, and this is part of his deep commitment to truth.

8Another oddity is the way the camera regularly cuts to a bunch of bananas until Johnson explains that it is a device the producer of his first film used when he made films of African politicians’ long speeches. As the film in the camera only lasts for ten minutes, every ten minutes, a new one has to be inserted, and as a consequence, there is a jump on screen. To conceal the jump, the director would slip in a shot of a bunch of bananas between two sessions: ‘then the audience accepts it more readily. They think while the thing was on the screen, then something else happened. It is one of the little deceits that film makers practise’ (160). By exposing the device, the deceit, Johnson is truthful but he also cancels the smoothing effect and so, each time the spectator sees a bunch of bananas afterwards, he cannot help remembering this is a strategy to hide a change of films (though this is not always the case in Johnson’s documentary) and is therefore made all the more aware of the artefact.

9In his whole work, Johnson was thus always intent on exposing lies and deceit, and looking for ways of being as truthful as possible, while being aware that absolute truth and accuracy were utopian ideals. To that extent, one may argue that Johnson’s horizon fits the common definition of the concept as what cannot be reached, what recedes as one approaches it, even though he was always trying to get closer to the horizon by devising original and ingenious formal solutions. At the same time, what is striking is the contrast between the horizon of truth that Johnson is trying to achieve and the objects and subjects that he submits to his quest and which do not fit the usual connotations of the notion of a horizon as they concern things that are very close to him (his daily reality, his own self and mind, his family), things that he already knows (his life, his past), or else very dark prospects such as degradation, decay and death, which all point towards a definite limit. One may therefore wonder whether Johnson did not, to a certain extent, manage to achieve the impossible task of reaching the horizon since his subjects were so intimately related to him or placed within strict limits.

B.S. Johnson’s Subjects: Touching the Horizon?

10As suggested earlier, the horizon for Johnson is not linked to any exotic setting or any journey to a faraway land but is grounded in the real, the mundane, the everyday. In Albert Angelo, the main character notes at one point that the skyline is blocked by clouds: ‘Lead-underbellied clouds had come from the north-west, had cut off up to the haunches the purple mountains and had foreshortened the horizon’ (59). This foreshortening of the horizon might be emblematic of the main character’s own condition as a failed architect whose ambitions have been thwarted by society and who has had to reduce the scope of his visions. It could also be argued that Johnson himself may have gone through a similar process, limiting his horizons to supposedly more easily accessible subjects, or else having his horizons curtailed by the literary establishment of the time who failed to understand his purposes.

11Fat Man on a Beach is shot outdoors, on the beach, on the rocks or at sea, and the helicopter proposes high angle and sometimes lyricized shots of the ocean, the headland or the bay, thus giving the impression of wide perspectives. However, several elements tend to move in the opposite direction and to foreshorten the horizon. For example, when Johnson reflects on philosophical questions such as ‘Why are we here?’, he paces back and forth in the sand until he wears a deep trench and eventually falls into it (151), as though he had literally been digging his own grave with his obstinate questioning. When he sits on his tiny metal stool later on, the prop also sinks in the sand, making the scene both burlesque and desperate. The contrast between the high shots and the burying movements might suggest the dichotomy between Johnson’s philosophical or poetic aspirations and concerns, and the way reality, be it what he repeatedly calls ‘the human condition’ or the constraints imposed by the literary world, brings him back to earth, a fact that is also epitomized by his lifelong obsession with his own fatness as recorded in the title of the film.

12What also brings forth a contrast with the sweeping views of the shore and the horizon, is the fact that the camera sometimes zooms in on gruesome or morbid objects such as the bloodied head of a dead sheep or a skull cup, or else incongruous objects buried in the sand, such as an electric light-bulb, a toy soldier, or two broken heels, which all imply that the camera need be directed downwards. Johnson also recounts some dreadful anecdotes such as the one about a motorcyclist being thrown from his bike against a wire fence, the wires ‘going through him like a cheese cutter through cheese’ (163), which Johnson sees as ‘a metaphor for the way the human condition seems to treat human kind’ (164). Even if the film as a whole is high-spirited and exuberant, these constant reminders of death, a recurrent topic in Johnson’s novels and plays as well, point towards death as the ultimate horizon or limit which will eventually be reached and which is haunting the writer’s mind and work to such an extent that several of his works seem directed towards that telos which provides a boundary.

13Another possible limitation to Johnson’s horizons is due to the fact that his main interest is really in his own self, his own personal experiences. His quest is an inner quest and his horizon is therefore logically confined within limits, those of the self but also the generic limitations of autobiography or autofiction, though one can argue that Johnson has renewed these genres and therefore expanded their scope. Thus, when Johnson goes to sea to write his novel Trawl, he is so sea-sick that he is mainly confined to his berth and is unable to examine the horizon. Instead of looking far away in the distance, he trawls his memories, plunging deep down into his past and his own mind, favouring the endotic over the exotic. It is therefore not surprising that the opening and closure of both Trawl and his posthumous novel See the Old Lady Decently should be marked by a solipsistic circular structure which negates the very idea of a horizon and, in particular, renders impossible an ethics of alterity in Levinas’s sense of an opening towards the horizon of the other: ‘. . . I, always with I . . . one always starts with I . . . And ends with I’ (Trawl 183). Within Trawl, Johnson keeps covering the same topics and realizes he can no longer move forward, see further, but is instead mired in his own pain: ‘Circles, I go round in circles’ (122). Fat Man on a Beach is also a very personal film in which Johnson’s figure is omnipresent and in which he reads autobiographical poems and recounts anecdotes of his summers spent in Wales, which he had already drawn from in previous novels and shorter pieces. This obsessive solipsistic circularity, which is maybe mirrored in the narcissistic quality of the self-reflexive trend of Johnson’s work, seems to prevent any progression forward, an impression reinforced by the fact that the artist is persistently looking into the past and not towards the future. When writing Trawl, Johnson meant to turn backwards, ‘to shoot the narrow trawl of [his] mind into the vast sea of [his] past’ (9). He wrote to his friend Anthony Smith: ‘I want in my new novel . . . to be able to ignore time too: to skate freely between past and present’, and, interestingly, he added in a parenthesis: ‘(the future doesn’t interest me at all)’ (Archives).

14Despite this rejection of the future, Trawl ends with the horizon of a new relationship, as his future wife, Virginia, is waiting for him in the harbour. The novel thus concludes with a view of the future, with Johnson apparently having transcended his own boundaries and accepted a new horizon, which is that of alterity and domesticity. The end of the journey in Trawl from sea to shore might be analysed in relation to the conclusion of Fat Man on a Beach where Johnson performs the contrary movement, from shore to sea. We may wonder whether this antithetical movement could be seen as emblematic of Johnson’s paradoxical art and of his difficulty at reconciling conflicting horizons, or whether, at what would turn out to be the end of his career and of his life, it suggests the embracing of a direction which can be interpreted both as an act of freedom and a form of tragic resignation.

Irreconcilable Horizons

15In Trawl, the end of the journey seems to contradict the very idea of the horizon, as the narrator has reached his final destination or goal, both literally and metaphorically. He exclaims: ‘At last I can see the true end to this voyage, to this testing, to this thinking!’ (168). Physically, the character goes back to the harbour of Grimsby which he had left a few weeks before, thus maybe suggesting a circular movement, back to the point of departure. Figuratively, the narrator purports that he has reached the objective he had set for himself: ‘I wake of a sudden, clear, my purpose in coming achieved . . . . everything, building up on this voyage, all the thinking, collectively, accumulatively, must have led to this sudden freedom I feel now’ (166). The narrator’s solitary times onboard the trawler have enabled him to face his past, to accept the isolation he has felt since he was a child and to exorcise the pain of several sentimental break-ups. He can thus shift his horizon from the past to the future, ‘towards this vision of a future no more than five years off: Ginnie as wife, a child, a son, perhaps . . . , freedom to work as I have to work: in the far hope of that happiness, I give life one more chance: towards the chance of that future I shall voyage honestly and hopefully’ (180). Such an epiphany brings to mind the teleological progression of Bildungsromane or the effect of closure provoked by the happy and sometimes naïve endings of fairy tales, myths or romances, but it can also be interpreted as an opening for Johnson as this is one of the rare occasions when he is contemplating an open future.

16However, as Jonathan Coe remarks in his biography, ‘there is something forced, something unachieved, about the way that Trawl finally abandons its mode of anguished recollection for this qualified stirring optimism. It coincides with the ship’s return to England a little too patly’ (21). His assertion that he has been purged of his past and thus has achieved the catharsis he had hoped for, the horizon he had in mind, is belied by his later work where he keeps turning over past betrayals and his persistent feeling of isolation, thus suggesting that circularity still prevails and that the ethical opening towards the other fell short of expectations. As Philip Tew argues, ‘there is no final resolution, only the temporary impact of his apparent epiphanic state’ (156). The expectation of a telos and the hopeful gaze towards the future thus seem short-lived (Guignery 2009, 111–113).

17In Fat Man on a Beach, inner and outer movements alternate, but the final scene shows Johnson swimming in the sea, leaving the shore behind, heading towards the horizon and, after a while, being seen no more. This scene of ‘simulated suicide’ (Burns 167) has been interpreted by the director Michael Bakewell (in Coe 374-375) as a tribute to one of Johnson’s contemporaries, Ann Quin, whose work he greatly admired and who had drowned herself by walking out to sea off Brighton Beach a few months before, in August 1973. Jonathan Coe writes: ‘[Johnson] admired the courage of the act. Quin—like him—refused to “live by illusion”. Better to end your life altogether than to live it dishonestly’ (372). Two weeks after shooting the scene when he disappears at sea, Johnson took his life, overwhelmed by feelings of dissatisfaction and frustration at seeing that he could not reach the horizons he had set for himself, be it that of a perfect domestic life or of the recognition by readers, critics and publishers of his conception of art and his commitment to truth. Retrospectively, one might interpret the last elegiac scene of the film as a powerful statement of his determination to be ‘honest’ (one of the last words of the film), honest to the film and to the viewers, but also to himself and his various commitments, even if this entailed walking out to the sea and disappearing from the world.


18As Jean-Michel Ganteau argues, Johnson’s ‘art is an art of the extreme. His practice is a practice of the limit’ (107). Fat Man on a Beach clearly demonstrates this testing of his own limits, the limits of the medium as well as those of the spectator. This valedictory film seems to bring together the various and sometimes contradictory directions of Johnson’s work without trying to reconcile them, form a coherence or achieve any kind of unity. The tension one might have felt between his ideal horizon of truth and verisimilitude on the one hand, and his gaze inwards, towards his own past and self on the other hand, is not a contradiction but the sign that subjects that are close and intimate can be as difficult to grasp and present truthfully as remote ones. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, ‘it is the eye which makes the horizon’ (487), and Johnson’s self-chosen horizons were both near and far, but equally asymptotic. The multi-faceted, chaotic and radical form of his last film—which would also be that of his posthumous novel See the Old Lady Decently—as well as its deep commitment to honesty, testify to Johnson’s constant and at times painful quest for the most adequate forms to reflect the untidiness of life, the absurdity of the human condition, and at the same time convey the truth of his own experience. The final powerful scene of the film is emblematic of the type of overwhelming goal or horizon Johnson had willingly set for himself and which would eventually pull him under.

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Burns, Alan, ‘Two chapters from a book provisionally titled “Human Like the Rest of Us: A Life of B.S. Johnson”’, Review of Contemporary Fiction 17.2 (Summer 1997): 156–178.

Coe, Jonathan, Like a Fiery Elephant, The Story of B.S. Johnson, London: Picador, 2004.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, Essays and Lectures, New York: Literary Classic of the United States, 1983.

Ganteau, Jean-Michel, ‘Anatomy of an Obsession: Aren’t You Rather Young to be Writing Your Memoirs? by B.S. Johnson’, Études britanniques contemporaines 33 (December 2007): 103–113.

Guignery, Vanessa, ‘Ethics and Experimentation in B.S. Johnson’s House Mother Normal’, The Ethical Component in Experimental British Fiction since the 1960’s, ed. Susana Onega and Jean-Michel Ganteau, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007. 50–70.

Guignery, Vanessa, Ceci n’est pas une fiction. Les romans vrais de B.S. Johnson, Paris: Presses de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2009.

Johnson, B.S., Aren’t You Rather Young to be Writing Your Memoirs?, London: Hutchinson, 1973.

Johnson, B.S., Fat Man on a Beach, Beyond the Words, Eleven Writers in Search of a New Fiction, ed. Giles Gordon, London: Hutchinson, 1975, 149–181.

Johnson, B.S., Albert Angelo (1964), Omnibus, London: Picador, 2004.

Johnson, B.S., Trawl (1966), Omnibus, London: Picador, 2004.

Johnson, B.S., ‘Distance Piece’, Poems Two, London, Trigram Press, 1972. 57.

Johnson, B.S., Archives, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Austin, Texas.

Tew, Philip, B.S. Johnson, A Critical Reading, Manchester: Manchester UP, 2001.

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Vanessa Guignery, « A Fat Man on a Beach: Conflicting Horizons in B.S. Johnson’s Work », Études britanniques contemporaines, 40 | 2011, 41-52.

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Vanessa Guignery, « A Fat Man on a Beach: Conflicting Horizons in B.S. Johnson’s Work », Études britanniques contemporaines [En ligne], 40 | 2011, mis en ligne le 27 août 2015, consulté le 24 juin 2017. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/ebc.2371

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Vanessa Guignery

École normale supérieure de Lyon.
Vanessa Guignery est professeur de littérature anglaise et de Nouvelles Littératures à l’École normale supérieure de Lyon. Elle est l’auteur de plusieurs livres et articles sur l’œuvre de Julian Barnes, dont The Fiction of Julian Barnes (Macmillan, 2006), et Conversations with Julian Barnes (Mississippi Press, 2009), co-dirigé avec Ryan Roberts. Elle a publié des articles sur l’œuvre de romanciers britanniques et indiens contemporains (Arundhati Roy, Anita Desai, Jeanette Winterson, Alain de Botton, David Lodge, Jonathan Coe, Michèle Roberts...), ainsi qu’une monographie sur B.S. Johnson, Ceci n’est pas une fiction. Les romans vrais de B.S. Johnson (PUPS, 2009). Elle a dirigé plusieurs ouvrages collectifs dont (Re)mapping London (Publibook, 2008), Voices and Silence (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009), Chasing Butterflies. Janet Frame’s The Lagoon and Other Stories (Publibook, 2011) et un numéro spécial du Journal of American, British and Canadian Studies consacré à Julian Barnes (Sibiu, 2009). Son recueil d’entretiens avec huit romanciers contemporains, Novelists in the New Millenium. Conversations with Writers, paraîtra en 2011 chez Palgrave Macmillan.

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