New Model Island: How to Build a Radical Culture Beyond the Idea of England

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In the early twenty-first century, “Englishness” suddenly became a hot topic. A rash of art exhibitions, pop albums and coffee table books arrived on the scene, all desperate to recover England’s lost national soul. But when we sweep away the patriotic stereotypes, we begin to see that England is a country that does not — and perhaps should not — exist in any essential sense.


In this provocative text combining polemic and memoir, Alex Niven argues that the map of the British Isles should be torn apart completely as we look towards a time of radical political reform. Rejecting outdated nationalisms, Niven argues for a renovated model of culture and governance for the islands — a fluid, dynamic version of regionalism preparing the way for a new “dream archipelago”.

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Alex Niven

Alex Niven’s books include Folk Opposition and Definitely Maybe 33 1/3. Currently Lecturer in English at Newcastle University, his writing has also appeared in the Guardian, Pitchfork, the Independent and LA Review of Books.

"Looking for a new England? Alex Niven draws on our diverse identities to forge a radical vision of a once and future land."

Billy Bragg

"One of the sharpest, most unusual critics writing today, and with this call for the end of England, he has surpassed himself. Personal, polemical and historical in equal measure, this is a strange, powerful and beautiful book."

Owen Hatherley

"An urgent and heartfelt instruction to dig over and reseed the soil of England, so that something more substantial might grow."

Richard King, author of How Soon Is Now?