Memoir

How I tried – and spectacularly failed – to assist my mother’s suicide

9 February 2019 9:00 am

‘If your time ain’t come, not even a doctor can kill you’ — so goes the proverb that best echoes…

Tracey Thorn performing at the Palace, Los Angeles in 1985

The day I woke up… to hear that only Tracey Thorn loved me

9 February 2019 9:00 am

It’s unusual for musicians to become writers. The trajectory of yearning is meant to be the other way around. When…

Francis Bacon in front of his triptych at the Galerie Claude Bernard in the Rue des Beaux Arts, Paris in 1977

France gets a taste for Bacon

12 January 2019 9:00 am

The case of Michael Peppiatt is a curious one. He first met Francis Bacon when he was an undergraduate at…

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In Epping Forest’s dark undergrowth

12 January 2019 9:00 am

In this current era of identity politics and a more fluid approach to gender and sexuality amongst a younger generation,…

Portrait of Casanova. Credit: Getty Images

Casanova: the scandalous libertine who seduced his own daughter

5 January 2019 9:00 am

This monumental unabridged audio production of Casanova’s memoir The Story of My Life in three volumes covers his first 49…

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Insomnia is key to my creativity

3 November 2018 9:00 am

A genre of memoir currently in vogue involves entwining the author’s personal story with the cultural history of a given…

Credit: Getty Images

If only we could hibernate all winter

3 November 2018 9:00 am

As travel writer, nature writer, memory retriever and, I would add, prose-poet of mesmerising lyricism, Horatio Clare is a celebrant…

‘We are not cattle, we’re people’: everyday hell in Stalin’s labour camps

11 August 2018 9:00 am

‘No testimony from this time must ever be forgotten,’ the great Lithuanian poet Tomas Venclova says in his afterword to…

It’s the wreckage of alcoholism, not the road to recovery, that makes for enthralling reading

16 June 2018 9:00 am

The Recovering by Leslie Jamison, novelist, columnist, bestselling essayist and assistant professor at Colombia University, makes for bracing reading. Clever,…

Fried squid, stale sweat and sensuality in Ian Buruma’s Tokyo

12 May 2018 9:00 am

In 1975, the 24-year-old Ian Buruma (now an award-winning essayist and historian, and the editor of the New York Review…

Rao Pingru and his siblings make a lion lantern with their mother

Enduring life under Chairman Mao

5 May 2018 9:00 am

Rao Pingru is 94, and a born storyteller. His gripping graphic narrative weaves in and out of the violent, disruptive…

Portrait of Helen by John Bellany

The ordeal of being married (twice) to John Bellany

5 May 2018 9:00 am

Misery memoirs are in vogue. There is much misery in this harrowing account of married life with John Bellany (1942–2013)…

Lamont ‘U-God’ Hawkins in 1995

The futile gang wars of New York

5 May 2018 9:00 am

I’ve interviewed a lot of rappers over the years and always feel a little grimy when I find myself nudging…

The misery of policing the US–Mexico border

5 May 2018 9:00 am

Francisco Cantú’s mother is surprised when he announces he’s joining the Border Patrol and going to work in the Arizona…

Laura Freeman reads her way out of anorexia

24 February 2018 9:00 am

It is hard to be honest about anorexia. The illness breeds deceit and distortion: ‘It thrives on looking-glass logic. It…

The best way to escape my abusive family was to write novels

17 February 2018 9:00 am

Early on in Amy Tan’s 1989 bestseller, The Joy Luck Club, a Chinese concubine slices a chunk of flesh from…

It’s not a wave’s crest, but its translucent interior that surfers dream of

17 February 2018 9:00 am

Surfing has come of age. Like rock and roll, it was once strictly for young people, edgy and alternative and…

Lady Lucan, a week after the murder

How Lucky Lucan begged me for money shortly before mistakenly murdering the nanny

17 February 2018 9:00 am

A Moment in Time reminded me of the sort of British expatriate women I used to meet in the south…

Despite her inability to talk or swallow, Genevieve Fox brims with joie de vivre

17 February 2018 9:00 am

A good, solid life-threatening illness can be the making of a writer. This has certainly been the case for Genevieve…

Never had it so good: British novelists in the 1980s

13 January 2018 9:00 am

In 1990, the BBC’s adaptation of David Lodge’s culture-clash novel Nice Work won an award at a glitzy soirée in…

A master of Norwegian wood

16 December 2017 9:00 am

Ole Thorstensen has been a carpenter for 25 years. A master craftsman, in fact. He is busy working on a…

What will Katie Hopkins do next?

9 December 2017 9:00 am

In her memoir Rude, the former Mail Online columnist Katie Hopkins reveals her true self. She does this by accident,…

Secrets of an abused aristocratic childhood

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Charles Duff’s memoir tells a sad tale of cruelty and betrayal with spry wit rather than bitter resentment. Notwithstanding the…

Adam Gopnik (image: Getty)

Art and aspiration

21 October 2017 9:00 am

When Adam Gopnik arrived in Manhattan in late 1980 he was an art history postgrad so poor that he and…

‘My witchcraft is going well’: The crazed Eva Rausing, photographed shortly before her death

Descent into hell

9 September 2017 9:00 am

It’s awful, but the surname Rausing (once synonymous only with the Tetrapak fortune) now summons up a terrible stench in…