Chris Keil lives and works in Carmarthenshire, in west Wales. Alongside his commitment to writing fiction, he currently lectures at Trinity College, teaching a course on heritage studies which looks at issues of authenticity, collective memory and national mythologies.
His mother’s family was originally from West Glamorgan, though he grew up in London, where he subsequently worked in journalism, and as a secondary school teacher in Brixton. He has taught English as a foreign language, both in Britain and in a number of European countries. He is fluent in French and Portugese, and hesitant in Spanish, Italian and Greek. He has travelled widely throughout Europe, circling the Mediterranean littoral but always drawn back to the shores of the Bristol Channel and Cardigan Bay.
For a number of years he was involved in farming and marketing Welsh lamb in Europe. He has a BA in Philosophy from University College London, and an MA in Heritage Studies from the University of Wales. He recently concluded three years of doctoral research at the University of Gloucestershire into representations of the Holocaust, carrying out a number of field trips to Poland, France and the United States. He has lectured, conducted seminars, and published on dissonant heritage and traumatic memory at Auschwitz and elsewhere.
Much of his academic work has been concerned with tensions between reality and representation, and this problematic relationship also drives his fiction writing. His first novel, The French Thing]/I] (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch), set in rural Wales against a background of live exports and animal rights protests, was a story about love defeated by competing visions of ethical and social reality. It was published in 2002 to critical acclaim. Liminal, his second novel (Alcemi) goes more deeply into issues of memory, truth and fiction, the interleaved worlds of objectivity and the imagination. His next novel, currently germinating, will look at political and social transformations in post-war Europe, from dictatorships and revolution to package holidays and second homes, but will probably turn out to be a love story as well.
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