John Higgs is a writer who specialises in finding previously unsuspected narratives, hidden in obscure corners of our history and culture, which can change the way we see the world. In the words of MOJO magazine, “Reading John Higgs is like being shot with a diamond. Suddenly everything becomes terrifyingly clear”. The Times agreed, saying that “Higgs’s prose has a diamond-hard quality. He knows how to make us relate.” “A while ago I decided to read anything Higgs writes,” said Frank Cottrell Boyce, “He seems to be able to take any subject — pop music, Watling Street, conspiracy theories, robotics — and poke at it until it yields up its secrets.”
His book The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds, was described as “Adam Curtis brainstorming with Thomas Pynchon” by The Guardian. Ben Goldacre (Bad Science, Bad Pharma) called it “By far the best book this year, brilliant, discursive and wise.” The leading music website The Quietus said it “Might well be the best music book of the 2010s” and it was named as one of the top ten music books of 2013 by The Guardian, The Independent and MOJO.
Alan Moore described his following book Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century as “Breathtakingly lucid… An illuminating work of massive insight, I cannot recommend this magnificent work too highly.” Rufus Hound said it was “a sensational book” while the Financial Times called it “a brilliantly stimulating tale.” Together with his first book I Have America Surrounded: The Life of Timothy Leary, which features a foreword by Winona Ryder, his work is currently being translated into seven languages.
Watling Street: Travels through Britain and its Ever-Present Past was published in July 2017. The Financial Times called it “mischievous and iconoclastic”, the Observer said it was “a book for our times” and the Times Literary Supplement described it as “a new vision of England… full of magic, mystery and bits of William Blake”. Lord Victor Adebowale called his 2019 book, The Future Starts Here: Adventures in the Twenty-First Century, “Brilliant, incisive and superbly written with humour, humanity and an intellectual honesty rarely found these days.”
His most recent book is William Blake Vs The World, which Terry Gilliam described as “Absolutely wonderful! This book managed to make Blake’s mind and mythology understandable to me at last – for that I am truly grateful.” Tom Holland called it “Rich, complex and original,” and The Times said that “John Higgs’s book lets in a glittering stream of revelatory light.” According to The Spectator, “William Blake Vs The World is a primer for the future.”
A prolific public speaker, Higgs has spoken at events and festivals including Tate Britain, Wilderness, The Secret Garden Party, Latitude, Festival No. #6, the Brighton Festival, Women In Art, the Port Eliot Literary Festival, the British Library, the Moseley Folk Festival and LonCon3 (the World Science Fiction Convention). Before turning to full-time writing he directed over 100 episodes of animated pre-school television, created the long-running BBC Radio 4 quiz series X Marks the Spot, and worked as producer on a number of videogames for the Xbox, PlayStation2 and Nintendo Gamecube. He lives in Brighton, England, with his wife and their two children.
Agent: Sarah Ballard at C&W/Curtis Brown
John can be contacted through the form below