Phil Baker

Non-fiction writer


Phil Baker spent long and gloomy years writing a thesis on Samuel Beckett, but cheered up after he published it as a book, which has been described by The Cambridge Introduction to Samuel Beckett as ‘a breakthrough in the field’. He has taught literature at several universities including Oxford and London, and literary journalism on the MA in creative writing at Bath, and has reviewed extensively for various papers including the Sunday Times and the TLS.

He is a writer of criticism and non-fiction, and his books include The Devil is a Gentleman: the life and times of Dennis Wheatley (Dedalus, 2009), William S. Burroughs (Reaktion Books, 2010), and a groundbreaking study of the obscure cult artist Austin Osman Spare (Strange Attractor, 2011), of which Alan Moore has said ‘Phil Baker has established himself as among the very best contemporary biographers… What Baker has accomplished here is little short of marvellous.’

Phil has also written the widely acclaimed Dedalus Book of Absinthe (Dedalus, 2001) and the first overview of psychogeography, ‘Secret City’, which appeared in London: from Punk to Blair (Reaktion, 2003). More recently, he has co-edited a collection of essays Lord of Strange Deaths: the fiendish world of Sax Rohmer and rescued a dead man’s unpublished manuscript biography of Gerald Hamilton (Christopher Isherwood’s ‘Mr Norris’), The Man Who Was Norris by Tom Cullen. He lives in central London and has a keen interest in the byways of popular and not-so-popular culture.

More from Phil Baker


Phil Baker

Non-fiction writer


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  • King’s College London, 2009–2011