Autobiography

The old monster Elton John appears charmingly self-deprecating

30 November 2019 9:00 am

I don’t care for Elton John. A cross between Violet Elizabeth Bott and Princess Margaret, his temper tantrums are legendary,…

Debbie Harry makes the perfect pop star

2 November 2019 9:00 am

My admiration for Deborah Harry goes back a long way and — fittingly for a woman who even as a…

Entertaining Iris Murdoch – for months on end

22 June 2019 9:00 am

If you know your Peter Conradi from your Peter J. Conradi, you’ll also know that the former is foreign editor…

Homer Simpson meets Homer

9 September 2017 9:00 am

Milan Kundera has said that Homer’s Odyssey was the first novel. I’m not so sure — the verse kind of…

Some insights into autism

5 August 2017 9:00 am

The Reason I Jump, by the autistic Japanese teenager Naoki Higashida, was a surprise bestseller in 2013. Rendered as a…

Diana Athill finally accepts ‘Old Woman’ status, aged 98

23 January 2016 9:00 am

There’s something reassuring about 98-year-old Diana Athill. She’s stately and well-ordered, like the gardens at Ditchingham Hall in Norfolk, her…

Bryan Stanley Johnson with a first edition of ‘The Unfortunates’

Nottingham resuscitates a classic of the 60s literary avant-garde

5 December 2015 9:00 am

In the basement of a busy café in Hockley, Nottingham, which may not have known exactly what it was letting…

‘People are interested in what I’m doing again’: Robert Lepage interviewed

22 August 2015 9:00 am

There’s a scene in 887, Robert Lepage’s latest show, which opened at the Edinburgh International Festival last week, in which…

‘I was facing truths I didn’t particularly want to look at’: Michael Moorcock interview

8 August 2015 9:00 am

By the kind of uncanny coincidence that would tickle his psychogeographically minded friends Iain Sinclair and Peter Ackroyd, Michael Moorcock’s…

Ecclestone and Mosley at Brands Hatch in 1978 — a double-act worthy of Ealing Studios

The fast, furious life of Max Mosley

4 July 2015 9:00 am

Max Mosley’s autobiography has been much anticipated: by the motor racing world, by the writers and readers of tabloid newspapers,…

Wendy Cope on hating school, meeting Billy Graham and enduring Freudian analysis

15 November 2014 9:00 am

A surprise! I took this book from its envelope expecting a fresh collection of Wendy Cope’s poems, and opened it…

A woman who wears her homes like garments

18 October 2014 9:00 am

Depending on your approach, home is where your heart is, where you hang your hat, or possibly where you hang…

The author’s father didn’t want you to read this book. It’s hard to understand why

19 July 2014 9:00 am

There were several times when reading A Dog’s Life that I felt as if I’d fallen into a time warp.…

Middlemarch: the novel that reads you

15 March 2014 9:00 am

The genesis of The Road to Middlemarch was a fine article in the New Yorker about  Rebecca Mead’s unsuccessful search…

Secrets of Candleford: the real Flora Thompson

1 March 2014 9:00 am

When Richard Mabey was researching this biography of Flora Thompson, author of Lark Rise to Candleford, he happened to stay…

Lance Sieveking (right) with Colonel G.L. Thompson broadcasting a running commentary on the final bumping race from a tree in Rectory Meadow, Cambridge, June 1927

'One warm night in June 1917 I became the man who nearly killed the Kaiser'

1 March 2014 9:00 am

The traditional story told about the first world war is that it changed everything: that it was the end of…

Finally, a celebrity memoir worth reading

4 January 2014 9:00 am

Unlike many celebrity memoirs, Anjelica Huston’s is worth reading. In her Prologue she writes that as a child she modeled…

The vengeance of Alex Ferguson

23 November 2013 9:00 am

For a quarter of a century Sir Alex Ferguson bestrode football’s narrow world like a colossus. Like his predecessor knight-manager,…

Morrissey can't even moan properly — here's a frontman who can

9 November 2013 9:00 am

There is much to be said for Schadenfreude. (If it was edible, it would be a meal in a very…

My dear old thing! Forget the nasty bits

26 October 2013 9:00 am

There can be a strong strain of self-parody in even the greatest commentators. When Henry Blofeld describes the progress of…

Malala's voice is defiant — but how much can she change Pakistan? 

26 October 2013 9:00 am

In 2012 a Taleban gunman, infuriated by Malala Yousafzai’s frequent television appearances insisting that girls had a right to education,…

As Luck Would Have It, by Derek Jacobi - review

28 September 2013 9:00 am

Alan Bennett once overheard an old lady say, ‘I think a knighthood was wasted on Derek Jacobi,’ and I know…

An Appetite for Wonder, by Richard Dawkins - review

21 September 2013 9:00 am

It is peculiarly apt that the author of this autobiography should be the man who coined that now fashionable term…

There and Then: Personal Terms 6, by Frederic Raphael - review

31 August 2013 9:00 am

Frederic Raphael is forensic in his description of the failures of successful people. He is enviously superior and he is…

As Green as Grass, by Emma Smith - review

17 August 2013 9:00 am

The title, the subtitle, the author’s plain name, even the jacket’s photograph of a laughing old lady in sunglasses: none…