Born in Birmingham, England, in 1964, Joseph Gallivan studied English at Oxford University, and now works as a journalist, dividing his time between London and New York. "England All Over" (Sceptre, March 16th 2000) is his second novel. It is a comedy about an ordinary middle class Geography teacher who, through the awful daring of a moment's surrender, has lost it all - wife, job, home - and must begin a new career as a tour guide.
To his horror Clive finds himself working with an incompetent aristocrat and a lager swilling Jack the Lad, each as corrupt as the other, but with the help of Rose, their young coach driver, they get their company up and running. The action takes place over a single hot summer in England, as Albion Tours takes on Stone Henge, Blackpool and even Princess Diana's grave.
As he grows steadily madder and more liberated from the shackles of his Englishness, he takes his tourists on an eccentric trip around the island, telling it like it is. The book deals with themes of class, male identity, history, heritage, memory, language and love, while poking gentle fun at the small 'c' conservatism of the English.
Gallivan's first novel, "Oi, Ref!" was a critically acclaimed comedy about a soccer referee's downfall and subsequent season in hell.
Listen to this excerpt from "England All Over" read by British actor Brian Cox, who is currently playing the lead in Conor McPherson's new play Dublin Carol at the Old Vic Theatre in London. In the excerpt, Clive falls into raptures while walking in the countryside with Rose, and gives a passionate litany of what he loves about England.