John Carey is a British literary critic, and emeritus Merton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford. He was born in Barnes, London, and educated at Richmond and East Sheen Boys’ Grammar School, winning an Open Scholarship to St John's College, Oxford. He served in the East Surrey Regiment, 1952-4, and was commissioned. After posts in a number of Oxford colleges, he became Merton Professor in 1975, retiring in 2001.
He is known, amongst other things, for his anti-elitist tone and iconoclastic views on high culture, as expressed for example in his book What Good Are the Arts?.
He has twice chaired the Booker Prize committee, in 1982 and 2004, and chaired the judging panel for the first Man Booker International Prize in 2005. He is chief book reviewer for the London Sunday Times and appears in radio and TV programmes such as Saturday Review and Newsnight Review.