"I expect you’ll be becoming a schoolmaster, sir. That’s what most of the gentlemen does, sir, that gets sent down for indecent behaviour.” Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall
Author Archive
Faith, grief and passion

Faith, grief and passion

As 2017 kicks off with two stunning but radically different novel-inspired blockbusters in the shape of Silence and A Monster Calls (with Liam Neeson looming large in both), we launch a regular round-up of unmissable literary adaptations and biopics coming soon to UK cinemas. Here are our picks for January. Silence Martin Scorsese’s epic adaptation...
Burhan Sönmez: Istanbul light and dark

Burhan Sönmez: Istanbul light and dark

Burhan Sönmez’ latest novel Istanbul Istanbul is set in a cramped two-by-one-metre prison cell beneath the teeming city, where a student, a doctor, a barber and a frail activist regale each other with stories, parables and riddles to fill the time between brutal interrogations. Readers are transported from the oppression of the dingy cell by...
Forever Neverland

Forever Neverland

Sally Cookson’s Peter Pan at the National Theatre is an exuberant steampunk pyjama party, exploring grown-up themes of abandonment, jeopardy, loneliness and despair. Cookson thrusts Wendy Darling (Madeleine Worral) centre-stage, as her story arcs from wonder to understanding and impending adulthood, while Paul Hilton’s petulant Peter, in his outgrown green suit and arrested adolescence, remains...
Colson Whitehead: Making it

Colson Whitehead: Making it

Colson Whitehead has just won the National Book Award for fiction for his bold and provocative novel The Underground Railroad, a nightmarish historical saga about a slave girl called Cora who’s on the run from the horrors of life on a Georgia plantation. Giving literal life to the metaphor for assisted escape, she emerges via...
Miriam Elia begs to differ

Miriam Elia begs to differ

Artist and satirist Miriam Elia’s Ladybird-style spoof We go to the gallery was one of the self-made hits of 2015. It attracted both the ire and the opportunism of publishing giants Penguin, who own the copyright in the original, long-overlooked series, and tried to quash Miriam’s work while rushing out their own adult Ladybirds. Now,...
Laura Lippman: No more heroes

Laura Lippman: No more heroes

Laura Lippman’s latest novel is set in the Maryland suburb of Wilde Lake, Columbia, twenty miles west of Baltimore, where she lived and went to school in the 1970s. The ‘new town’ of Columbia was founded as a well-meaning experiment in egalitarian community living – which in retrospect was always likely to fail. With deliberate...
Idra Novey: Reckless passions

Idra Novey: Reckless passions

Idra Novey’s debut novel Ways to Disappear is a boisterously funny literary thriller in which noted experimental Brazilian author Beatriz Yagoda vanishes up a tree, pursued by her two grown children, her American translator Emma, an ex-publisher and a sleazy gun-wielding loan shark seeking payback on Beatriz’s online poker debts. I chat with her about...
Matteo Garrone: Bigger than life

Matteo Garrone: Bigger than life

Matteo Garrone’s latest film, Tale of Tales, is a flamboyantly grisly retelling of three little-known fairy tales collected in the seventeenth century by Neapolitan poet and courtier Giambattista Basile. From the 50 tales in the collection, which includes the earliest – and bawdiest – recorded versions of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Hansel and Gretel, the...
Reading Europe

Reading Europe

Now in its eighth year, European Literature Night (ELN) returns with an expanded programme under the banner of the newly inaugurated European Literature Festival. Presented by EUNIC London, ELF is a six-week celebration of literature from across the continent, with more than 60 writers and poets from over 30 countries involved in events and projects from 27...
Jonathan Tel: The great and the small

Jonathan Tel: The great and the small

Jonathan Tel has won the 2016 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award for ‘The Human Phonograph’, in which a woman is reunited with her geologist husband at a remote Chinese nuclear base in Qinghai in the early years of the Cultural Revolution. It’s a flashback moment in a series of interlinked stories that make up...