Stuart Walton is a cultural historian, critical theorist and novelist. His widely acclaimed comparative study, Out of It: A Cultural History of Intoxication (Penguin, 2001) is now in its second edition (2016). His other nonfiction books have included a history of chilli peppers, The Devil’s Dinner (St Martin’s Press, 2018), as well as theoretical works on the emotions, the five senses, chaos and disorder, and a 2017 monograph on the Frankfurt philosopher Theodor Adorno. His debut novel, The First Day in Paradise (Roundfire Books, 2016), is a magical realist fable about present-day consumer culture, set to an original theme from Dante’s Paradiso.
At the outset of his career, Stuart was a food and wine journalist, publishing reference works on wines, spirits and liqueurs, two cocktail books and a history of vodka. He has been an inspector and writer for the UK’s premier annual restaurant guide for over thirty years, and is a past chairman of the international Circle of Wine Writers. Since 2019, he has been associate editor of the Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics, and is a prolific book critic.
In recent years, Stuart has been involved in private long-distance tuition of students in different disciplines around the world, promoting best academic practice and the use of good English. He once intended to be an actor and studied drama at Manchester University, a period that taught him much about communication skills and emotional intelligence, and also that his acting abilities were strikingly modest. He now lives in Torquay.