Photograph of Christopher Bigsby

Christopher Bigsby is emeritus professor of American Studies at the University of East Anglia (UEA) where he taught from 1969 to 2018. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts, is an award winning academic, novelist and biographer. Together with Malcolm Bradbury, he has written plays for BBC radio and television. His first novel, Hester, won the McKitterick Prize. Beautiful Dreamer (2002) was an American Library Association Notable Book. With Don Wilmeth, he won the Bernard Hewitt Award for Outstanding Research in Theatre History and the George Freedley Jury Award for The Cambridge History of the American Theatre. He has also received the 'NAFSA Education Abroad Leadership Award'. His biography of Arthur Miller was shortlisted for the James Taite Black Memorial Prize, the Sheridan Morley Prize and the George Freedley Memorial Award. It was a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title for 2009 and was joint winner of the American Studies network Award. His is also winner of the Betty Jean Jones Award for Outstanding Teacher of American Theatre and Drama.

As a broadcaster, he presented Radio 4’s Kaleidoscope for over eight years, as well as Radio 3’s Third Ear and Radio 4’s Off the Page. He was also presenter of Radio 3’s First Night and Radio 4’s Present Voices, Past Words and The Index as well as presenting editions of The Archive Hour and Centurions. He has made television programmes on John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, and Edith Wharton. He has reviewed for a number of national newspapers (including The Guardian, The Independent and The Daily Telegraph) and his programme notes have appeared in theatres throughout the UK, in Australia, Canada and the United States. For 18 years he was Director of the British Council’s flagship Cambridge Seminar and has travelled widely on its behalf. He holds honorary degrees from Bolton University and the Complutense University of Madrid and was the 2019 winner of the Exceptional Contribution Award presented by the East Anglian Book Awards.

He has published some sixty books, including a two-volume biography of Arthur Miller and his latest novel, Ishmael.



In The Face Of Darkness

Asked to open an exhibition of photographs by the American photographer Lee Miller, Christopher Bigsby was struck by images which stared into a particular darkness, war and the cruelties it unleashed, this from a woman who had once been a fashion model and then a lover and student of the surrealist Man Ray. The war, though, changed everything, ultimately taking her across Europe and into the concentration camps. But can some truths never be captured either in images or words? The poems in this book are in part prompted by Lee Miller’s work, but also include the personal, the fanciful, and a response to the natural world.