Jonathan Coe

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Jonathan Coe (born 19 August 1961) is an English novelist and writer. His work has an underlying preoccupation with political issues, although this serious engagement is often expressed comically in the form of satire. For example, What a Carve Up! reworks the plot of an old 1960s spoof horror film of the same name. It is set within the "carve up" of the UK's resources which some believed was carried out by Margaret Thatcher's right wing Conservative governments of the 1980s.


Early life and education

Coe was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. He studied at King Edward's School, Birmingham and Trinity College, Cambridge. He taught at the University of Warwick, where he completed a PhD in English Literature.


Coe was long interested in both music and literature. He played with a band and tried to get a recording of his music.

He published his first novel in 1987. As of 2010, he has published nine novels. They have been well received and three have won literary awards.

Coe read an excerpt of The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim to crowds at the Latitude Festival. The central character was to be "a product of the social media boom," and "the sort of person with hundreds of Facebook friends but no one to talk to when his marriage breaks up.".[1]

Film and TV adaptations

Both What a Carve Up!' (1994) and The Rotters' Club (2001) have been adapted as drama serials for BBC Radio 4. The Rotters' Club was adapted for television and broadcast on BBC Two. The Dwarves of Death (1990) was filmed as Five Seconds to Spare.

Jeremy Dyson, author of The League of Gentlemen, is adapting What a Carve Up! for Channel 4. This new TV project is in development with Big Talk (Black Books, Free Agents) but has yet to be formally commissioned by C4.

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