Matthew Richardson rss

Who will succeed Julian Barnes as the winner of the Booker Prize? Image: Getty.

Your guide to the Booker Prize

16 October 2012 10:29

Assorted literary grandees will squeeze into their tuxes this evening to compete for the Booker Prize. Of the debut novelists, one previous winner and a brace of old-timers, who stands the… Continue reading

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Howard Jacobson's Zoo Time has some claim to be the first great novel about the revolution reading is currently undergoing. Image: Getty.

Review: Zoo Time by Howard Jacobson

14 September 2012 15:19

Winning the Booker can do strange things. For one, critics tend to become noticeably shyer around authors with some bling in their trophy cabinets, hyperbole blunting their edge. But if… Continue reading

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2 volumes of poetry which paint the modern world in very different lights. Image: Getty.

Modern life in verse

11 September 2012 11:56

Julia Copus’s new collection The World’s Two Smallest Humans exists in four parts, each in their own way circling the theme of loss. Two parts – ‘The Particella of Franz… Continue reading

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The Newlyweds

The marriage plot: The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger reviewed

14 August 2012 11:17

Few could accuse literary fiction of not doing its best to perk up the US export sector recently. It has been a truly remarkable year. A quick glance at my… Continue reading

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A tourist boat sails past Bartolo, Getty Images

Setting sail

18 July 2012 9:00

The sea has always been a powerful stimulant for the literary imagination, most famously, of course, for the likes of Messrs Hemingway and Melville. Both, indeed, are name-checked in Monique… Continue reading


The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce — review

19 April 2012 17:03

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce starts with a wonderfully simple idea. Harold Fry, resident of 13 Fossebridge Road, gets a letter from an old friend, Queenie Hennessy,… Continue reading

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Missing Mole

6 March 2012 9:31

It is thirty years since Adrian Mole first hit our shelves. To celebrate, Penguin has re-released the oeuvre with shiny new covers and a celeb introduction from David Walliams for… Continue reading


The cruel sea

21 February 2012 12:31

The early years of the twentieth century hold an irresistible draw for the modern imagination. The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan takes us back to 1914, the world poised on the… Continue reading


Hollinghurst’s biographical ambitions

8 February 2012 9:48

How does fiction mix with biography? Is all biography fiction, or all fiction merely finessed biography?  These questions were considered last night, at the Oxford Centre for Life Writing, by… Continue reading

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Biting to the core of Apple’s success

31 January 2012 9:26

How did Apple gain such a hold on everyday life? Whether it’s checking overnight emails on the iPhone, reading a morning paper on the iPad, walking to the tune of… Continue reading


Interview: Christopher Reid

11 January 2012 9:19

Christopher Reid’s A Scattering — a collection of poems written in honour of his dead wife, the actress Lucinda Gane — won the 2009 Costa Award. Reid will be reading… Continue reading

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Looking into the well-read future

4 January 2012 20:07

E-books can be a strange, parochial beast. As any Kindle-user will know, the content of the Kindle store often varies wildly in terms of design and reading experience. Classics suffer… Continue reading


Rumpole’s seasonal cheer

20 December 2011 8:46

Music fans may groan at the glut of greatest hit collections clogging up shelves at this time of year. Bookshelves are usually immune from such compilations, though the odd one… Continue reading


Becoming great

22 November 2011 14:52

Christopher Reid’s Selected Poems moves through a neat thirty-year stretch from his first collection Arcadia (1979) to his acclaimed Costa-winning volume A Scattering (2009). We travel from Reid’s early period… Continue reading


One for the Christmas stocking

15 November 2011 11:07

Wordy things have had a renaissance of late. Stephen Fry’s superb five-part BBC series, Fry’s Planet Word, aired recently; David Crystal has just produced a handsome new volume, The Story… Continue reading

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A quirky dish

9 November 2011 9:31

The four-hundredth anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible has produced some great books. Almost all aspects have been covered: the general histories of Melvyn Bragg and Gordon… Continue reading

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Before Dickens was a Victorian

1 November 2011 10:08

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst’s Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist works as a companion piece of sorts to Claire Tomalin’s rival biography Charles Dickens: A Life. The clue is in the… Continue reading

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A hatful of facts about … the future of the book

21 September 2011 13:55

The BBC’s World at One recently asked five leading figures in the literary world for their thoughts on the ‘future of the book’. Here is what they had to say: 1.)… Continue reading

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The importance of plot

15 September 2011 16:11

As literary fly-on-the-wall moments go, it would be hard to beat. John Banville – the most austerely mannered stylist in the language, the archbishop of literary fiction – hands his… Continue reading

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A Death in Summer – review round up

14 September 2011 14:08

Benjamin Black – aka John Banville – is back for another round of detective fun with A Death in Summer. Does the crossover magic work for a fifth outing?  … Continue reading

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A hatful of facts about…the Edinburgh International Book Festival

16 August 2011 19:09

1) The Edinburgh Book Festival has begun in earnest this week. The festival is one of the lengthiest in the country, running from 13-29 of August. The festival was originally… Continue reading

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A hatful of facts about…Colin Dexter

11 August 2011 11:10

1.) Colin Dexter’s famous creation, Inspector Endeavour Morse, is due to fill our screens once more. ITV has announced that a new Morse film will be on the box next… Continue reading

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Worth every penny

10 August 2011 13:24

A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman is a rare example of a dying breed: the collected short stories. Spanning from 1966 to 2000, the singularly spindly tales… Continue reading


A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman – review round-up

9 August 2011 9:58

Margaret Drabble has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a novelist and biographer. But do her short stories match the standard of her other work?   Stevie Davies, in… Continue reading

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A hatful of facts about…the Man Booker Prize

4 August 2011 9:58

1.) Last week, the longlist for the Man Booker Prize 2011 was announced. The lucky authors included established writers like Sebastian Barry and Alan Hollinghurst alongside first-time novelists like Stephen… Continue reading

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