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Champion, Sarah 1970-

Champion, Sarah 1970-

PERSONAL: Born 1970, in Manchester, England.

ADDRESSES: Home—Manchester, England; and San Francisco, CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: New Musical Express, Manchester, England, correspondent; Manchester Evening News, Manchester, columnist; director of independent record company and public-relations firm; contributor to Web sites dealing with electronic music; Nation (English-language newspaper), Bangkok, Thailand, news and business editor, 2000-01; freelance journalist and book editor.

WRITINGS:

And God Created Manchester, photographs by Ian Tilton, Wordsmith (London, England), 1990.

(Editor) Disco Biscuits, Sceptre Books (London, England), 1997.

(Editor) Disco 2000, Hodder and Stoughton (London, England), 1998.

(Editor with Donal Scannell) Shenanigans, Sceptre Books (London, England), 1999.

(Editor) Fortune Hotel, Penguin (London, England), 2001.

Contributor to periodicals and online journals, including i-D, Muzik, MixMag, Melody Maker, Volume, Wire, Generator, Interview, Trance Europe Express, Trance Atlantic, Bangkok Metro, Farang, Guardian, and Observer. Compiler of numerous drum and bass CDs.

Champion's anthologies have been translated into French, Greek, Japanese, Russian, and German.

SIDELIGHTS: Sarah Champion, a British writer who lives part-time in the United States, has carved out a career in journalism and in books that deal with music, drugs, and travel. Her anthologies have been bestsellers in England, beginning with her first edited work, Disco Biscuits, described as a "collection of new fiction from the chemical frontier" by a reviewer for the New Statesman.

Disco Biscuits describes England's rave music and drug scene, which, following its start in the mid-1980s, had by the late 1990s evolved into a culture that included all-night dance and club-hosted drug parties. Champion's 1997 anthology includes work by writers such as Jeff Noon, Alex Garland, and Irvine Welsh, and it was an unexpected success in England, where it became one of the most popular fiction anthologies of all time. Hari Kunzru, writing for the London Review of Books, remarked that Disco Biscuits is filled with the sense of guilty pleasures, "as if the sheer weight of moral sanctions against drug use had forced much of the writing into its present shape." Kunzru went on to note that many of the writers in the anthology "seem to be struggling against the influence of the canonical drug-writings of the Beat and Hippy eras." Similarly, the New Statesman reviewer wrote that "there is only so much you can say about the music itself, or the drugs." The same contributor further noted that one "problem with a book like this … is that it's so infatuated with its own novelty. The contributors know they have to respond in an original way, but most of them opt for immediate, haphazard weirdness."

Following the popularity of Disco Biscuits, Champion edited a second anthology, Disco 2000. This volume features the work of nineteen international writers, such as Douglas Coupland, Nicholas Blincoe, Robert Anton Wilson, Neal Stephenson, and Poppy Z. Brite. This time pre-millennial jitters serves as the theme holding the stories together. A special soundtrack CD was also produced for the anthology.

With the 1999 work Shenanigans, co-edited with Donal Scannell, Champion assembles nineteen tales from Ireland that take an abrupt departure from usual themes of the Emerald Isle. The stories, by writers from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, all take place after dark and explore the surreal side of Irish culture. Her 2000 anthology, Fortune Hotel, presents a similarly contrary version of the travel genre. Featuring seventeen stories by writers such as Coupland, Geoff Dyer, William Sutcliffe, Martyn Bedford, Tony Litt, Grant Morrison, Will Self, and Esther Freud, Fortune Hotel serves up tales involving drug use in foreign places and a sense that travel is not all that it is supposed to be. Ra Page, writing in the New Statesman, noted that "Champion is highly successful at remixing her generation's collective leisure experience and then selling it back to us."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

London Review of Books, May 22, 1999, Hari Kunzru, review of Disco Biscuits, p. 24.

New Statesman, February 7, 1997, review of Disco Biscuits, p. 48; July 19, 1999, Ra Page, review of Fortune Hotel.

Observer (London, England), February 16, 1997, review of Disco Biscuits, p. 18.

Times Literary Supplement, March 14, 1997 review of Disco Biscuits, p. 22.

ONLINE

Between the Lines Web site, http://www.thei.aust.com/ (December 9, 2004), review of Disco Biscuits.

Official Sara Champion Web site, http://www.sarachampion.info (December 9, 2004).

Richmond Review Online, http://www.richmondreview.co.uk/ (December 9, 2004), Pippa Wright, review of Disco Biscuits.

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