Memoir

Consigned to a living tomb: Aziz BineBine endures 18 years in a subterranean prison

11 April 2020 9:00 am

Imagine being on indefinite lockdown, imprisoned in a dark, underground, 6’ x 12’ cell, freezing in winter, boiling in summer…

There’s nothing romantic about Cornish fishermen, whatever tales they may spin

4 April 2020 9:00 am

Lamorna Ash came to the fishing port of Newlyn in south-west Cornwall to write a memoir. This is not unusual.…

Annie Ernaux looks back at her teenage self – and sees a stranger

4 April 2020 9:00 am

How can you recover the teenage girl you were? Not just recall the memories and recount the events — this…

A love letter to San Francisco’s mean streets

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Recollections of My Non-Existence is the Rebecca Solnit book I have been waiting for. I was born four years after…

Until he discovered pop music, life was all Greek to Pete Paphides

21 March 2020 9:00 am

Pop music has always been, to those who love it, to some degree tribal or factional; fans like to carve…

Jan Morris, at 93, meditates on what it means to be old

21 March 2020 9:00 am

‘I’m getting rather tired of me,’ begins Jan Morris in one of the diary entries in Thinking Again, almost certainly…

Rescued by the Goldberg Variations

14 March 2020 9:00 am

Were this a less good book than it is, it would be called How Bach Can Help You Grieve. As…

The inside story of working for Carmen Callil

14 March 2020 9:00 am

Forty-seven years ago, Virago paperbacks, with their stylish green spines and hint-of-the-transgressive colophons of a red apple with a bite…

Carve his name with pride: Andrew Ziminsky rebuilds the West Country

7 March 2020 9:00 am

Andrew Ziminski is the man who rebuilt the West Country. For 30 years, this skilled stonemason has renovated some of…

Having a baby is like joining a cult — full of other, more capable mothers

29 February 2020 9:00 am

When you’re not a mother it’s hard to imagine what motherhood is like. Anyone you know who becomes one assures…

How long is long enough to look at a work of art?

15 February 2020 9:00 am

There is a vogue at the moment for books which use art as a vehicle for examining the writer’s wider…

Lake Ohrid: an oasis of peace in the war-torn Balkans

15 February 2020 9:00 am

Kapka Kassabova’s previous travel book, Border, was rightly acclaimed and won several prizes. The author travelled to the edge of…

It’s not the dark hours the insomniac dreads but the clear light of day

15 February 2020 9:00 am

The insomniac may come to dread the night’s solitude, but the next day poses the greater challenge. That’s when you…

Deborah Orr rages against her small-town upbringing

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Unlike a lot of people in the media, I didn’t personally know Deborah Orr, but I know many who did,…

Reasons for remembering things: the refugee’s last resort

11 January 2020 9:00 am

A family memoir is a dangerous thing to write: one has to balance between keeping one’s subjects happy and the…

The other half of Wham!

21 December 2019 9:00 am

Have you heard the story about the time that Andrew Ridgeley, the 1980s heart-throb, refused to answer the door to…

Will Self’s memoir of drug addiction is a masterpiece of black humour

7 December 2019 9:00 am

Well, it was always going to be called Will. More than once in this terrifying, terrific book, Will Self refers…

The carnage inside Charlie Hebdo: an eyewitness’s account of the attack

23 November 2019 9:00 am

It is almost five years since two trained jihadists went into the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris and killed…

Free of Lucian Freud — Celia Paul’s road to fulfilment

16 November 2019 9:00 am

I was looking the other day at a video of the artist Celia Paul in conversation with the curator of…

Picturing paradise: the healing power of art

9 November 2019 9:00 am

Some 35 years ago I visited the National Gallery of Sicily in Palermo on the hunt for the ‘Virgin Annunciate’…

My short, bitter-sweet marriage to the radical historian Raphael Samuel

2 November 2019 9:00 am

In a telling moment early on in A Radical Romance, Alison Light admits that she once identified with the character…

A frank description of dementia is a searing, suffocating read

5 October 2019 9:00 am

In Annie Ernaux’s The Years — her extraordinary act of collective autobiography —the ‘I’ disappears. Her memoir becomes the memoir…

Everything you always wanted to know about classical music but were afraid to ask

28 September 2019 9:00 am

Novelist, essayist, painter, poet, composer. Oh yes, and pianist: Stephen Hough does all of these things very well — and…

Gales and Gaels — sailing solo from Cornwall to the Summer Isles

28 September 2019 9:00 am

This is the story of a solo voyage in a 31ft- wooden sailing boat called Tsambika. Philip Marsden pilots his…

In praise of Tove Ditlevsen — the greatest Danish writer you’ve never heard of

28 September 2019 9:00 am

Pick up a Penguin Classic from a cult Danish author who ‘struggled with alcohol and drug abuse’ and took her…