Photograph: KT Bruce
Dr. Jem Poster is the author of a poetry collection and two novels. He has been a member of the English Faculty at the universities of both Cambridge and Oxford and was for ten years a Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford; from 2003 to 2012 he held the Chair of Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University. He has reviewed extensively for The Guardian and teaches regularly for the Guardian Masterclass series, as well as for Cambridge University’s Centre for Creative Writing. He has been the recipient of an Arts Council Writers’ Award and has spent time as Writer in Residence at Arizona State University.
When past indiscretions unexpectedly catch up with Charles Redbourne, a minor landowner in late nineteenth-century England, he escapes to Australia, where he plans to fulfil his childhood dream of making his mark as a naturalist. In New South Wales the patterns of his life begin to shift dramatically, not least when he meets his host's wayward, artistic daughter. She, too, has her secrets, tantalisingly glimpsed by Redbourne before he sets off on an expedition in search of scientific specimens in the Blue Mountains – where events take a terrifying turn.
In the winter of 1881 John Stannard, a young architect, arrives in a remote English village to oversee the restoration of its decaying medieval church, but soon begins to inflict serious damage not only on the ancient building but on those he encounters, including a beautiful local girl who becomes the focus of his confused passions. As Stannard struggles to keep a grip on his sanity, his life rapidly descends into nightmare and violence. Unsettlingly dark and taut with foreboding, the novel explores our capacity for invention and self-delusion – the stories we tell each other and the stories we tell ourselves.
Oxford University Press
The third volume of OUP's monumental edition of Edward Thomas's prose provides the annotated texts of two biographies: Richard Jefferies: His Life and Work (1909) and George Borrow: The Man and His Books (1912). A detailed introduction addresses a range of matters relating to the subjects of these two biographies as well as to Thomas's approach to them, while the edition's extensive notes provide further insights into the texts and their cultural context.