Andrew Crumey

The Secret Knowledge due July 2013

Andrew Crumey (pronounced "Croomy") has a PhD in theoretical physics and is former literary editor of Scotland on Sunday. His novels combine history, philosophy, science and humour, and have been praised and translated worldwide. He won the £60,000 Northern Rock Foundation Writers Award for his novel Sputnik Caledonia. It was also shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and Scottish Book of the Year, and longlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award.

His 1994 debut novel, Music, in a Foreign Language, won the Saltire First Book Award and was longlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize. Pfitz was a New York Times Notable Book, and D'Alembert's Principle was called in for the Booker Prize. Mr Mee was longlisted for both the Booker Prize and IMPAC Award and won a Scottish Arts Council book award. Mobius Dick was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and was chosen by Waterstones for its "alternative Booker" shortlist. Other prizes include an Arts Council Writer's Award and Northern Arts Writer's Award.

Born in Scotland in 1961, he grew up in Kirkintilloch and graduated with first class honours from St Andrews University. He moved to London in 1983 to do a PhD on dynamical systems and infinite dimensional algebras at Imperial College. Between 1986 and 1989 he was director of West London Nightline and care worker with Westminster Mencap, then returned to research, doing post-doctoral work on nonlinear systems at Imperial College and Leeds University. In 1992 he moved to Newcastle upon Tyne and worked as a schoolteacher for four years. He became a regular book reviewer for Scotland on Sunday in 1996 and was literary editor from 2000 to 2006. He subsequently lectured at Newcastle University. He has written for the Guardian, Independent, Telegraph, Financial Times and other newspapers, regularly appears at literary/scientific festivals and conferences, and teaches creative writing through seminars, workshops and mentoring.

He has been a visiting fellow at Durham Institute of Advanced Study and is currently senior lecturer in creative writing at Northumbria University. He is represented by A. M. Heath & Co. Ltd. and is published by Dedalus Books. He can be contacted via these or by e-mail to andrew.crumey@northumbria.ac.uk.

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Teaching and research


[Crumey] is one of my three or four favourite modern writers - a wise, funny, alert and original novelist who has never disappointed.
Jonathan Coe, Guardian

I have a weakness for Andrew Crumey's novels. I call it a weakness because I've noticed that, when reading them in waiting-rooms or on trains, people look up angrily whenever I laugh... Like a magical conjuror, Crumey keeps all manner of subjects - chaos and coincidence, quantum mechanics, psychoanalysis, technology, telepathy and much else - whirling amazingly in the air.
Michael Holroyd, New Statesman

Crumey's work asks the biggest questions there are - and manages to connect political, scientific and philosophical ideas in a way that isn't possible for many people in a culture that seems keen to split these subjects into "disciplines".
Scarlett Thomas, Independent on Sunday

Crumey is a sensitive writer… He has a sharp wit and taps the sort of deep, rich vein of comedy accessible only to authors who respect their own characters… [Mr Mee] is not only an intellectual treat but a moving meditation on aspiration and desire.
Hilary Mantel, New York Times

[Mobius Dick is] a glitteringly original piece of storytelling, unapologetically intelligent, driven by tightly focused narrative skill. It is also acerbically funny, peppered with digs, while an Orwellian irony makes clear that the questions implied are not about some imagined culture, but concern the one in which we wake up every day. There is a winning sense of spaciousness in the writing, a feeling that the words are pouring out spontaneously. This quality is all the more impressive because the ideas are complex… But while Mobius Dick is a work of sophisticated erudition, its playfulness and artistry make it a page-turner, too. It is perhaps the only novel about quantum mechanics you could imagine reading while lying on a beach.
Joseph O’Connor, Guardian

[Crumey] finds resonant poetry in the highest science and.. is also brilliant at tonal shifts… Drawn with a deceptively comic touch, there are many characters throughout that you find, to your surprise, you care fiercely for… [Sputnik Caledonia] is a surprisingly moving novel about the impersonal forces - be they political, quantum, temporal or otherwise - that can threaten or shatter the bonds of love, and of family life. Never has astrophysics seemed so touching and funny.
Sinclair McKay, Telegraph