After gaining a Double First in English Language and Literature from Christ Church, Oxford, I went on to study for my doctorate there (1984-88), before working free-lance as an editor and writer. In 1993 I joined the department of American Studies, where I’ve taught a wide range of modules, from English and American 20th-century fiction to courses on the Beat Generation and the Counterculture of the 1960s, from introductions to cinema to specialist courses on film noir and Alfred Hitchcock. From 2003 I was Programme Director for English and American Literatures and then also for American Studies. Over the past fifteen years I've become a leading scholar in the Beat field, especially on the work of William Burroughs, and in 2010 I became founding President of the European Beat Studies Network.

Research and scholarship

Since completing my D.Phil at Oxford, I’ve focused on material scholarship, and of my ten books, eight have been editions of works by William Burroughs: The Letters of William S. Burroughs 1945-1959 (1993); a fiftieth anniversary edition of his first novel, Junky: the definitive text of “Junk” (2003); his epistolary novella, The Yage Letters Redux (2006); Everything Lost: The Latin American Notebook of William S. Burroughs (2008); a 25th-anniversary edition of Queer (2010) and the famous "Cut-Up Trilogy": The Soft Machine: the Restored Text (2014), Nova Express: the Restored Text (2014), and the Ticket That Exploded: the Restored Text (2014).

In 2019, I introduced a new edition of Burroughs’ prophetic novel Blade Runner: A Movie (prophetic not only of Ridley Scott’s film, which borrowed the title from Burroughs, but of a cataclysmic viral pandemic…), and in 2020, to mark the 60th anniversary of the original cut-up texts, I published four new cut-up editions: Dead Fingers Talk: the Restored Text, by Burroughs; Minutes to Go Redux, by Burroughs, Sinclair Beiles, Brion Gysin, and Gregory Corso; The Exterminator Redux, by Burroughs and Gysin’ and BATTLE INSTRUCTIONS, a previously unpublished work by Burroughs assembled from archival sources.


I teach literature, mainly 20th-century American and English fiction, and also film, but my specialism is the culture of the post war period. I’ve taught a range of modules about the Beat Generation of the 1950s (key writers: Burroughs, Kerouac, Ginsberg), and about the counterculture of the 1960s (writers from Ken Kesey via Thomas Pynchon to Carlos Castaneda).

As for film, I teach an introduction to American Cinema course and Alfred Hitchcock’s America, both at Level 2, and run a film noir module at Level 3.  I'd like to offer a module on adaptation (having published a study of Hemmingway and Hollywood in Literature and the Visual Media [2005], but that's one for the future. For postgraduates, I have supervised and examined numerous PhDs about William Burroughs, and am currently supervising a PhD on the work of Alfred Hitchcock.

As is reflected in my scholarship and editing work, I also have a special interest in the materiality of writing.  If you're at all interested in Burroughs, you're welcome to get in touch; for the premier Burroughs website, you should check out Reality Studio.

Further information

Main Publications


Dead Fingers Talk (2020)



Dead Fingers Talk Review

Dead Fingers Talk Review 2

Minutes to Go Redux (2020)



The Exterminator Redux (2020)







Battle Instructions Review

Trilogy Review

Moloko Trilogy Review

Blade Runner (2019)


Blade Runner Review

Blade Runner Review 2



 The Soft Machine (2014)


Review Essay

Operation Total Exposure






Nova Express (2014)


Review Essay

Operation Total Exposure


Triology Review





The Ticket That Exploded (2014)




Review Essay

Operation Total Exposure

Review Essay                  

Q25 Front cover

Queer: Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition (2010)


Interview 2   | ‌


Naked Lunch@50: Anniversary Essays (2009)


Everything Lost Cover

Everything Lost: the Latin American Notebook of William S. Burroughs (2008)

Interview | Review 1 | Review 2

Yage Letters Cover

The Yage Letters Redux (2006)

Review 1

Junky Cover

Junky: The Definitive Text of "Junk" 50th Anniversary Edition (2003)


William Burroughs Cover

William Burroughs and the Secret of Fascination (2003)


William Burroughs Letters Cover The Letters of William S. Burroughs, 1945-1959 (1993)
excuisite corpse cover


“Cutting Up the Corpse,” in The Exquisite Corpse: Chance and Collaboration in Surrealism's Parlor Game (2009) edited by Davis Schneiderman et al.

Beats "'Virus X': Kerouac's Visions of Burroughs," in Reconstructing the Beats (2004) edited by Jennie Skerl
Cut-up Closure "Cut-Up Closure: The Return to Narrative," in William S. Burroughs at the Front: Critical Reception, 1959-1989 (1991) edited by Jennie Skerl and Robin Lydenberg
retaking the universe cover "Cutting up Politics" in Retaking the Universe: William S. Burroughs in the Age of Globalization (2004) edited by Davis Schneiderman and Philip Walsh

Critical Articles on-line


  • Time Life "Minute Particulars of the Counter-Culture: Time, Life, and the Photo-poetics of Allen Ginsberg" in Comparative American Studies (2012).
  • Cold War Correspondents: Ginsberg, Kerouac, Cassady, and the Political Economy of Beat Letters (from twentieth Century Literature 46 (Summer 2000), 171-192) Read more here.
  • Beating the Academy (from College Literature 27.1 (Winter 2000), 213-231). ‌
  • “’Can You See A Virus?’ The Queer Cold War of William Burroughs” (from Journal of American Studies 33.2 (1999), 243-266). Read more here
  • "Burroughs is a poet too, really": the poetics of Minutes to Go from The Edinburgh Review 114 (2005), 24-36. Read more here
  • "Not Burroughs' Final Fix: Materializing : The Yage Letters" from Postmodern Culture 16.3 (January 2006). Read more here

Conference Papers on-line


"Watch Live Keynote Talk (2014)"



An interview with Ben Heal of the European Beat Studies Network (August 2020)
A personal interview with Colombian poet Elizabeth Torres for her Red Transmissions series (Decemeber 2020)


  • Dead Fingers Talk (2020)

  • Minutes to Go Redux (2020)
  • The Exterminator Redux (2020)
  • Blade Runner: A Movie, by William S. Burroughs (Tangerine, 2019). Introduction IX-XXIII.
  • The Soft Machine: the Restored Text by William S. Burroughs, Grove and Penguin, 2014. 272 pp. Introduction IX-LIII.
  • Nova Express: the Restored Text, Grove and Penguin, 2014. 254 pp. Introduction IV-LV.
  • The Ticket That Exploded: the Restored Text, Grove and Penguin, 2014. 287 pp. Introduction IX-LV
  • Queer: 25th-Anniversary Edition by William S. Burroughs, Penguin, 2010. 150 pp. Introduction IX-XL
  • Naked Lunch@50: Anniversary Essays, Southern Illinois University Press, 2009. 293 pp.
  • Everything Lost: The Latin American Notebook of William S. Burroughs. Ohio State University Press, 2008. 217 pp. Introduction IX-XXVIII.
  • The Yage Letters Redux by William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, City Lights, 2006. 127 pp. Introduction IX-XL VII.
  • William Burroughs and The Secret of Fascination, Southern Illinois University Press, 2003.  287 pp.
  • Junky: the definition text of "Junk" by William S. Burroughs, Penguin, 2003. 166 pp. Introduction: IX-XXXIX.
  • The Letter of William S. Burroughs, 1945-1959, Viking, 1993. 472 pp. Introduction: XV-XL.

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