Dr Brian Dillon


  • Brian Dillon
  • Area

    School of Humanities



  • Brian Dillon is a writer and critic, and UK editor of Cabinet magazine.He contributes regularly to art magazines, newspapers and journals in the UK, USA and Ireland, as well as writing books that range in subject matter from contemporary art to the history of hypochondria, the physical space of writing to the aesthetics of decay.

  • Biography

  • Brian Dillon studied English and Philosophy at University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin, before completing a PhD in English at the University of Kent in 1999. His thesis was on conceptions of time in twentieth-century literary criticism and theory, and dealt primarily with the work of Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Paul de Man, Jean-François Lyotard and Giorgio Agamben. He taught in the School of English at Kent until 2004, when he became a full-time freelance writer.

    Since 2001 Brian Dillon has been writing on art, books and culture for many publications in the UK and elsewhere. His book reviews and essays have appeared in the Guardian, Independent, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement and the Irish Times. He writes regularly on contemporary art for such publications as frieze, Artforum, Art Review, Modern Painters, Aperture and Tate etc. Since 2003 he has been UK editor of Cabinet, a quarterly journal of art and culture based in New York.

    Show more
  • Practice

  • Brian Dillon’s first book, a memoir entitled In the Dark Room (Penguin, 2005), won the Irish Book Award for non-fiction. His second, Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives (Penguin, 2009) was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize. In 2008, he was awarded an AHRC Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts. His project, based at the University of Kent, ran from 2008 to 2011 and was entitled ‘Ruins of the Twentieth Century’. It has so far produced two books – a novella entitled Sanctuary (Sternberg Press, 2011) and an edited anthology, Ruins (MIT Press/Whitechapel Gallery, 2011) – and a third, Blown All to Nothing, published by Penguin in 2013. A collection of his essays on art and literature, Culture and Curiosity, was published by Sternberg Press in 2012.

    Show more

Selected work