Sam Leith

Barack Obama was decidedly a man of action as well as words

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Barack Obama was famous for his rhetoric, but his achievements show just what a steely political operator he was too, says Sam Leith

How moral is it to refuse a vaccine?

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Well thank goodness for that, eh? Just as we reached our darkest hour and resigned ourselves to an endless series…

The Hay festival’s uneasy dance with the UAE

24 October 2020 9:00 am

The Hay Festival, memorably described by Bill Clinton as ‘the Woodstock of the mind’, has, over the past couple of…

A cat’s-eye view of 18th-century social history

3 October 2020 9:00 am

Jeoffry is, by now, one of the best-known cats in literary history. And unlike the Cheshire Cat, Mr Mistoffelees, Orlando,…

In defence of wokeness

3 October 2020 9:00 am

We have been reading an awful lot about ‘wokeness’ recently. Nobody, I notice, seems to be much in favour of…

Today’s undergraduates are customers – and the customer is always right

22 August 2020 9:00 am

If you’re looking for a sign of the academic times, you could do worse than consider the image, published in…

She was just a damn cat – and I loved her

18 July 2020 9:00 am

I’ve never dug a grave before. But that was how I spent my Sunday afternoon. Three feet is awfully deep…

anarchy

How do you enforce anarchy?

12 June 2020 1:48 am

I had an argument once, in a pub, with an anarchosyndicalist. We’d both been on the same protest march so…

Salman Rushdie: ‘The implausible has become everyday’

25 April 2020 9:00 am

Salman Rushdie on writing in the Age of Anything-Can-Happen

Coronavirus has made amateur mathematicians of us all

11 April 2020 9:00 am

‘What is the point of learning maths? When do you ever actually need it? How does it ever affect your…

There’s no sign of apocalypse in East Finchley – yet

14 March 2020 9:00 am

I was mansplaining to my wife earlier this week about why we ought to be very, very concerned by the…

The internet is taking the joy out of quotations

21 February 2020 10:00 pm

The internet is taking the joy out of citations

The real Calamity Jane was distressingly unlike her legend

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

Calamity Jane’s legend as brave frontierswoman, crack shot and compassionate nurse to the wounded was nurtured largely by herself. The truth, says Sam Leith, was dismayingly different

‘I was a tortured, obviously brilliant child’: James Ellroy interviewed

21 December 2019 9:00 am

James Ellroy is occasionally quoted as saying he’s the greatest American crime novelist ever. The man sometimes called the ‘demon…

Who are today’s fictional heroes?

21 December 2019 9:00 am

What’s a hero? There are probably at least two answers to that. One is that heroism is a moral quality:…

Remembering the genius of Clive James

7 December 2019 9:00 am

‘Clive James Stirs.’ That was the standard subject line for the emails I used to get from the great Australian…

‘My wife sends me sleep bubbles’: The extraordinary world of Pete Townshend

30 November 2019 9:00 am

When most rock stars have trouble sleeping, they fall back on Valium, temazepam, heroin or Jack Daniel’s. But Pete Townshend,…

Sordid confessions of a Centrist Dad

16 November 2019 9:00 am

I have a shameful secret. I’ve been watching these… videos online. Amazing what you can get in a couple of…

For political discourse to survive, we must be more honest about language

5 October 2019 9:00 am

When I was an English literature undergraduate, we were all very careful to avoid what used to be called the…

Oppidans vs scholars: a guide to the social politics of Eton

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Every prime minister is a sociologist. Theresa May drew a distinction between citizens of somewhere and ‘citizens of nowhere’, a…

Why croquet beats cricket

29 June 2019 9:00 am

People say cricket is the quintessential English game. Those people are wrong. Cricket may have a longer pedigree, but it’s…

Common sense is the real generation gap – just ask John Cleese

15 June 2019 9:00 am

As I write these words, I regret to inform you, John Cleese is on his way to being cancelled. Now…

Credit: Robin Hill

Gothic extremes of human cruelty: Cari Mora, by Thomas Harris, reviewed

18 May 2019 9:00 am

It has been 13 years since Thomas Harris published a novel, and the last time he published one without Hannibal…

‘Come on, cancel me’: An interview with Bret Easton Ellis

11 May 2019 9:00 am

‘I grew up in LA where we all thought fame was a joke,’ says Bret Easton Ellis. ‘My class was…

The art, beauty and joy of videogames

2 March 2019 9:00 am

By day, I’m a mild-mannered book-world hanger-on; by night, I roar through the streets of Gotham in my heavily armed…