Birkbeck, University of London hosted the first international conference on the acclaimed British author Geoff Dyer. In attendance: Geoff Dyer. Aside from the rather British problem of sorting out how to refer to the author—”Dyer” would be used to refer to the work while “Geoff” would mean the man in the room—attendees argued over the problem of “Geoff Dyer and Englishness,” or his lack thereof. Dyer seemed to enjoy the whole experience, as Philip Maughan reports for The New Statesman:
At the end of the day Dyer conceded that he might have misconstrued the masochistic impulses of academia, happily proposing the inauguration of “an annual, weekly, not conference but festival devoted to me.” Afterwards we all disappeared to the pub, which everybody knows is the real purpose of these intellectual get-togethers: to share a room with people who harbour the same obsessions you do, then drink them under the table.