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Biography Henry Hemming

Henry Hemming is the author of In Search of the English Eccentric (2008) and Misadventure in the Middle East (2007). Both books are based on year-long journeys: one through England looking for eccentrics; the other in the Middle East around the time of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He has been described in The Spectator as “a fresh new voice, idealistic, engaging and human”. Henry also makes art, some of which was shown at the last Port Eliot Literary Festival.

Two months after graduating from Newcastle University with a 1st in History, Henry began a year-long journey through the Middle East in a second-hand Toyota pick-up truck with another artist, Al Braithwaite. Both believed in the value of making work in situ and allowing their setting to interfere as much as possible with their artistic process.

In August 2003 they returned to London having nearly being killed in Baghdad, with a large body of work in the back of their truck as well as three successful exhibitions completed in Tehran, Muscat and Amman. They sent a proposal for a slightly off-kilter visual account of this journey to Booth-Clibborn Editions and a year later Off Screen was published. A series of international exhibitions coincided with its release.

Meanwhile Henry worked on a written account of the journey which was eventually taken on by Nicholas Brealey Books; in early 2007 Misadventure in the Middle East was born.

In the months that followed, while continuing to make and exhibit art, yet wanting to understand something more of the country he had grown up in, Henry set out in search of what he imagined to be England’s last remaining eccentrics. He wanted to update the term ‘eccentric’ for the 21st century. This quest took him from a cave-like former-sheep pen on the Isle of Skye inhabited by the Leopard Man, through to discussing Gulliver’s Travels with Pete Doherty, or flattening a crop-circle in the dead of night with England’s leading crop-circler. The resulting book, In Search of the English Eccentric, was published to great acclaim in June 2008. [updated March, 31st 2009]

“A funny, timely and moving encounter with a dying breed”
Jon Ronson

“An intelligent and encouraging piece of writing”
Times Literary Supplement

Author Website: www.henryhemming.co.uk


Henry on In Search of the English Eccentric

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