Award-winning British author to read at IU Bloomington for World War I series

  • Nov. 13, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Award-winning British author Geoff Dyer will visit Indiana University Bloomington on Monday, Nov. 17, to read from his book “The Missing of the Somme.”

The reading, at 5 p.m. in Presidents Hall within Franklin Hall, is part of "World War I: 100 Years," the campus’s 2014-15 academic year exploration of World War I.

"I think the 100th anniversary is one of those occasions when the planets are brought into special alignment,” Dyer said. “Over the course of the next four years, the Great War will feel closer to us than it has for at least half a century. We will feel its gravitational pull more strongly. Events like this one at Indiana University both remind us of this and, crucially, play a part in creating and sustaining that alignment."

“The Missing of the Somme” untangles and reconstructs the network of myth and memory that illuminates understanding of, and relationship to, the Great War. The work is part travelogue and part meditation on remembrance. Through visits to battlefields and memorials, the book looks at how photographs, film, poetry and prose determine views and memories of the war -- sometimes in advance of the events described.

“I believe this is a great opportunity for our campus and our community,” said Andrea Ciccarelli, dean of IU’s Hutton Honors College, who is coordinating the yearlong campus examination of World War I. “Geoff Dyer is one of those writers who, no matter the subject, makes a nonfiction book as readable and enjoyable as a fictional one, and never loses the contact with the reality that inspires his works. The battlefield, the sounds, the historical mistakes, the feeling of the place, the carnage, the missing in action themselves, can be re-lived, with intensity, in his pages.”

Dyer is the author of four novels, two collections of essays and numerous other genre-defying works. His book “Otherwise Known as the Human Condition” was awarded the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. Among other awards, he received the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2006) and the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Best Comic Novel (2009).

His most recent book, “Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush,” was published in May 2014 (US: Pantheon, UK: Visual Editions).

World War I: 100 Years

Through talks, symposia, classes, historical exhibits, art, music and cinema, Indiana University is exploring the 100-year legacy of World War I and its profound influence on today’s social, cultural and political landscape. A video of the Nov. 4 international roundtable featuring diplomats from many of the countries involved in the conflict is available at

For more information on World War I: 100 Years events, contact Andrea Ciccarelli,

Related Links

Geoff Dyer

Geoff Dyer | Photo by Matt Stuart

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Media Contacts

Andrea Ciccarelli


  • Hutton Honors College
  • Office 812-855-3550

Jennifer Piurek

Director, communications and special projects

  • Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President
  • Office 812-856-4886