Born a week before Elvis joined the Army, Ian Marchant is originally from Newhaven in East Sussex, and now lives in neither England, nor Wales, but Radnorshire.
Before taking up writing books, he sang in various unimaginably obscure bands, wrote up the results of horse races in bookmakers’ shops and ran a large second-hand bookshop on the Charing Cross Road.
He has published seven books, including two acclaimed memoir/travel books for Bloomsbury, ‘Parallel Lines’ and ‘The Longest Crawl’, which were each selected by Nicholas Lezard as his paperback of the week in The Guardian. ‘The Longest Crawl’ was book of the month for September 2007 in both ‘The Sunday Sport’ and ‘The Church of England Newspaper’, a hitherto undreamt of critical double. His last book, ‘Something of the Night’ was published by Simon and Schuster in January 2012.
‘The Longest Crawl’ was published in Italy by DeAgostini as ‘Isole, Incontri, Pub, Soprattutto Pub’ in 2010, translated by Claudio Silpigni.
His next book, ‘A Hero for High Times’, will be published by Jonathan Cape in 2016.
He co-wrote the play ‘White Open Spaces’ for Pentabus Theatre,which was nominated for a South Bank Show award in 2007 after performances at Edinburgh and in the West End, and after three performances by the National Theatre of Sweden in Stockholm.
Ian’s monologue for the play, ‘Joy’s Prayer’, was broadcast on Radio Four as part of the Woman’s Hour serialisation of ‘White Open Spaces.’
For Radio Four, Ian has presented a five part series ‘A Load of Rubbish,’ broadcast December 2008, ‘Top Deck’, a half hour documentary broadcast in 2009, ‘I’m On The Train’, an hour long programme for the Archive on Four strand, broadcast 2010, ‘The Ghost Trains of Old England’, broadcast October 2010, a five part series ‘The Completists’, broadcast January and February, 2011, a two part series ‘North and South, Across The Great Divide’ broadcast February 2012, and half hour documentaries ‘The Secret Life of Trees’ (broadcast December 2012), ‘The Devil’s Rope’ (broadcast July 2014) and ‘Self-ServiceNation’ (broadcast July 2015). For Radio Three, Ian presented the Sunday Feature, ‘Walking with Attitude’, broadcast December 2011.
He presented a film for ITV Border about the engineer Thomas Telford in 2007, which was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award, and presented a four part series for ITV Border, ‘Fun For Some’, which was broadcast in April/May 2008.
He has written for The Guardian, The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent on Sunday, The Times, The Sunday Times and Metro.
Between 2002 and 2006, Ian was co-centre director of the Arvon Foundation’s house at Totleigh Barton, and has also tutored on several Arvon courses. Between 2006 and 2009 he was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Birmingham City University, where he currently teaches Creative Writing.
Ian has made numerous appearances as a guest speaker, compere, quizmaster and lounge singer at various festivals, including Hay Literature Festival, Glastonbury, Ways With Words at Dartington, Words by the Water at Keswick, Stoke Newington Literary Festival, tEXt in Exeter, Ilkley Literature Festival, Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, Lancaster Litfest, Secret Garden Party, Wilderness, Eden, The Green Gathering, and Abergavenny Food Festival.
Ian has worked for many years with legendary Bohemian poet Lionel Spume FRSL as biographer, sole agent and literary executor.
From 1998 until 2000, Ian lived in a caravan with a chicken called Ginger.