Literature

A h(a)ppy ending for Nicola Barker – a true experimentalist

17 November 2017 13:10

Nicola Barker has just won the Goldsmiths Prize for experimental fiction with her new novel H(a)ppy. She earned it. If…

How to understand the human side of a financial crisis: read a book

6 October 2016 11:12

One of the occupational pleasures, and occasional hazards, of being a financial journalist is the need to keep up with…

The Women’s Prize for Fiction deserves a better drink than Baileys

4 June 2015 15:03

Well, as a mere PR exercise, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, awarded last night, has done really well, what…

It’s about time a man won the Booker again

15 October 2014 11:55

I bet fifty quid on Howard Jacobson winning the Man Booker. My original bet was actually on a ‘Yes’ vote below 40…

A brief history of biker gangs at war – Islamofascist Iraq edition

15 October 2014 8:21

America and Britain are still fumbling for policies to deal with nationals joining the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.…

Will Self is wrong (again): online reading isn’t negligent reading

8 October 2014 12:39

Dim the lights, half-muffle the bells, replace your Hatchard’s bookmark with a strip of black crepe: the novel is dead.…

The Mayor of London is a wally: official

7 October 2014 15:51

Far from it being Mr Steerpike’s prerogative to call a former editor of the Spectator a wally, he was rather amused…

The great David Ekserdjian deserves a museum of his own

8 August 2014 14:28

Ever since Mr Blair’s New Dawn of 1997, the dominant idea in public policy towards public collections has been ‘access’.…

Michael Gove and the Ship of Fools

13 June 2014 17:30

It lies rigged and fully masted in the harbour, the Ship of Fools, and soon it will be crewed by…

Why do so many of our MPs feel the need to write books?

10 June 2014 17:39

It sometimes feels like there is a never-ending flood of books written by politicians delivered to the Spectator offices. Almost…

The great Shakespeare authorship question

1 May 2014 16:11

Was William Shakespeare just a nom de plume? The question is usually dismissed as boring, only of interest to snobs…

New literary award launches. But is the Folio Prize just a pretentious version of the Booker?

11 March 2014 13:53

The British Library isn’t the first place I associate with contemporary fiction. For me, it’s about the Tudor manuscripts: the…

The inherent strength of religion cannot mask the fragility of Christian belief in Britain

10 February 2014 10:04

Terry Eagleton, the Marxist literary critic, has been something of a hero of mine since the publication of his Reason,…

‘A Radical Imagination’ – Doris Lessing in the Spectator

18 November 2013 13:34

Doris Lessing’s obituaries, as much as her writings, bear witness  to the great turbulences of the twentieth century. How many…

What if Byron and the Shelleys had live tweeted from the Villa Diodati?

2 September 2013 13:38

It’s one of the most famous – indeed infamous – episodes in English literary history. In the summer of 1816…

Elmore Leonard dies aged 87

20 August 2013 15:18

Elmore Leonard has died aged 87. Leonard began his career as a hack and ended it as a modern master. His rule was:…

The week in books – Tudors, thinkers, dreamers and boozers

9 August 2013 15:54

The book reviews in this week’s issue of the Spectator is worth the cover price. Here is a selection of…

Would you hide the cover of your book from prying eyes on the Tube?

1 August 2013 9:05

‘Would you mind if I asked what your book is?’ She was in her late-thirties, with dark hair and a…

Which Ulysses is the most heroic?

29 July 2013 15:13

From ‘Ulysses’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson                                     Come, my friends, ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world. Push…

Summer reading? What about summer re-reading?

25 July 2013 10:17

What will you read over the summer? The newly announced Booker longlist? A selection of books from newspaper and magazine…

Alexander Pope, mock-epic, modernity and misogyny

16 July 2013 12:01

from The Rape of the Lock And now, unveiled, the toilet stands displayed, Each silver vase in mystic order laid.…

The 10 “best” historical novels, sort of…

19 June 2013 11:35

The BBC adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen, which began last Sunday, has led numerous books editors to pick…

Ben Fountain interview: Lies are an affront to writers because lying is the corruption of language

18 June 2013 16:23

Ben Fountain’s debut short story collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, was published in America eighteen years after he left…

A dream come true

6 June 2013 10:03

It only took me twelve years as a published writer to get round to seeing one of my own books…

Sheila Heti: ‘I did worry putting sex in the book would eclipse everything else’

31 May 2013 9:27

There is a question which writers (and readers) of literary fiction get tired of hearing: which bits really happened? The…