Gill, A.A. 1954- (Adrian Anthony Gill)

views updated

Gill, A.A. 1954- (Adrian Anthony Gill)


Born June 28, 1954, in Edinburgh, Scotland; son of Michael and Yvonne Gill; married Cressida Connolly (a writer), c. 1983 (divorced); married Amber Rudd (a venture capitalist), 1990 (marriage ended); partner of Nicola Formby (a style journalist and former model); children: (second marriage) Flora, Alistair. Education: Studied at the Slade School of Art.


Home—London, England.


Journalist. Sunday Times, London, England, restaurant critic, 1993—.


Critic of the Year, What the Papers Say; Sunday Times Magazine Columnist of the Year; two Glenfiddich awards for travel writing.


Sap Rising (novel), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1996.

The Ivy: The Restaurant and Its Recipes, Hodder & Stoughton Trade (London, England), 1997.

Starcrossed (novel), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1999.

Le Caprice, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1999.

A.A. Gill Is Away, Cassell (London, England), 2002.

Connoisseur with A.A. Gill, EMP (London, England), 2005.

The Angry Island: Hunting the English, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 2005.

Previous Convictions: Assignments from Here and There, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 2006.

Table Talk: Sweet and Sour, Salt and Bitter, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 2007.

Contributing editor, GQ Magazine.


A.A. Gill is a well-known restaurant and television critic in England. For more than a decade he has written a regular column for the Sunday Times, which usually concerns the subject of food. "In his restaurant and television reviews for the Sunday Times he doesn't mince his words," declared Sabine Durrant in the Guardian. "He marinades and flambés them. He has been reported to the Racial Equality and Press Complaints Commissions for his views on the Welsh…. But he's just as likely to entertain the rest of us by sharpening his wit on habitues of the Groucho (‘eels in a storm drain’) or viewers of Countdown (‘a displacement activity for lives circling the plughole’)." As the author stated in his own Sunday Times column: "Over a decade and a bit, the Table Talk column in Style has evolved into being more or less about restaurants and food. It's also more or less about whatever has settled on my retina that week." "I'm constantly fascinated by why and how we eat," he continued. "The movement of ingredients and the history, anthropology, mythology, manners and rituals of food. Dinner is a defining human occasion. We are the only species that ever existed that offers hospitality."

In A.A. Gill Is Away, the critic collects a series of his essays that deal not with food in general and restaurants in particular, but with foreign cultures and the ways they are understood. The title, reviewers explain, is taken from the message that his editors run in place of his column when the author is on vacation or away from his desk. "His interests," wrote Alan Moores in Booklist, "are omnivorous and take him places as diverse as Sudan, India, Cuba, Bethlehem, Japan, and even the San Fernando Valley." "He applies his trademark acerbity to places rather than programs," stated a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "as he roves from famine-devastated southern Sudan to the site of an environmental disaster in Uzbekistan." "Gill's aim isn't always on (only a Brit would search for authentic barbecue in California)," declared a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "but usually it's his bald foreignness that makes him such a skilled marksman." "Unlike many other writers who aspire to be travel writers, A.A. Gill's prose is free from the genre's normal pretensions and is like a breath of fresh air," according to Philip Blazdell on the Web site BootsnAll Travel. "After reading this book it's hard not to believe that A.A. Gill could write about the local telephone directory and make it sound relevant and interesting." "As ever," concluded Kate Millner-Gullard in Geographical, "his prose is vibrant, witty and hilariously disrespectful."

Gill expresses his views on his adopted country in The Angry Island: Hunting the English. "The book," declared Danuta Kean on the Orion Books Web site, "pulls back the net curtains to reveal the naked rage we English try to disguise with everything from jokes and gardening to animals and alcohol. It is as surprising and touching as it is amusing and splenetic—as one would expect from one of Britain's leading cultural commentators." The volume is constructed as a series of pastiches and, according to a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "provides many hilarious examples of inexplicable angry outbursts from the English, and while the logic behind these eruptions may sometimes be baffling, in Gill's hands they're uproariously funny." "Contradictions in the English character also reflect Gill's own," Kean stated. "He has a reputation for vituperative prose but is thoughtful and erudite and at times painfully self-critical." "Gill's caustic ruminations often veer into over-the-top hyperbole," concluded a writer for Publishers Weekly, "but these essays, brimming with incendiary certitude, also offer nuggets of truth."



Booklist, September 15, 2005, Alan Moores, review of A.A. Gill Is Away, p. 26.

Geographical, June, 2003, Kate Milner-Gullard, review of A.A. Gill Is Away, p. 60.

Guardian (London, England), January 2, 2006, John Crace, review of The Angry Island: Hunting the English.

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2005, review of A.A. Gill Is Away, p. 895; April 15, 2007, review of The Angry Island.

Library Journal, October 1, 2005, Joseph L. Carlson, review of A.A. Gill Is Away, p. 99.

New Statesman, September 6, 1996, D.J. Taylor, review of Sap Rising, p. 46.

Publishers Weekly, August 29, 2005, review of A.A. Gill Is Away, p. 46; April 16, 2007, review of The Angry Island, p. 44.

Sunday Times (London, England), October 14, 2007, A.A. Gill, "The Pleasure Principle."


BootsnAll Travel, (January 8, 2008), Philip Blazdell, review of A.A. Gill Is Away.

Guardian Online, (January 8, 2008), Sabine Durrant, "A Is for Adrian."

Internet Movie Database, (January 8, 2008), brief biographical information and credits for A.A. Gill.

Orion Books Web site, (January 8, 2008), "A.A. Gill Tells Danuta Kean about the Angry Dark Heart of the English."

Travel Intelligence, (January 8, 2008), brief biography of A.A. Gill.