Philip Hoare

Philip Hoare is a writer, film-maker and curator. His books—which have featured on best-seller lists in the UK and USA, and are published in translation in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Brazil, and China —include Serious Pleasures: The Life of Stephen Tennant and the authorised biography of Noël Coward, both of which received front cover reviews in the New York Times Book Review. Wilde's Last Stand, England's Lost Eden, and Spike Island were followed by Leviathan or, the Whale, winner of the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize in 2009. The Sea Inside and his last book, RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR—the latter acclaimed as 'a masterpiece' by The Observer—were both serialised as BBC Radio Books of the Week. Philip's latest book, Albert & the Whale, led the New York Times to call the author a 'forceful weather system' of his own. Patti Smith declared it 'a wonderful book. A lyrical journey into the natural and unnatural world'. Olivia Laing said, 'Everything that Philip Hoare writes is bewitching'.

Philip's broadcast work includes the feature-length BBC 2 film, The Hunt for Moby-Dick, and three films he directed for BBC 4's Whale Night. Recent work includes I was a dark star always (2018), an installation film about Wilfred Owen, voiced by Ben Whishaw, and the script for the BBC 2 film, Isostasy (2021). During the 1980s Philip was founder of the post-punk record label, Operation Twilight, with Rough Trade Records, and he co-curated Icons of Pop at the National Portrait Gallery, one of the institution's best-attended exhibitions. He has collaborated with John Waters, Pet Shop Boys and the Black American artist Ellen Gallagher, and written catalogue essays for Peter Doig, Dorothy Cross, Linder, and Tania Kovats. In 2022 he co-curated a major exhibition with the John Hansard Gallery on the artist and film-maker, Derek Jarman.

In 2016, working with the Arts Institute, University of Plymouth, Philip co-curated, with artist Angela Cockayne, the, for which the entirety of Melville's novel was read by Sir David Attenborough, Tilda Swinton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tony Kushner and Stephen Fry, among others. In 2021 this was followed the, in which Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem was read by Iggy Pop, Hilary Mantel, Willem Dafoe, Jeanette Winterson, Rupert Everett, Ali Smith, Alan Bennett, Jeremy Irons, and Marianne Faithfull. Both digital projects have received tens of millions of hits and international coverage.

Philip is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Southampton, and a guest tutor at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI. He is also a regular contributor to The Guardian, and swims every day in the sea.

Twitter: @philipwhale

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Literary, Film
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TV, Radio, Foreign Rights
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Speaking & Engagements