Books

The people have not forgotten me: the exiled Empress of Iran interviewed

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Somewhere in the bowels of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art is a portrait from a lost world. Its subject…

Twiggy photographed by Justin de Villeneuve in the Rainbow Room at Big Biba, early 1970s. [JUSTIN DE VILLENEUVE]

A short history of art deco – from high art to two-tone shoes, garden gates to Twiggy

1 December 2018 9:00 am

On 10 September 1973 the 1930s Kensington High Street department store formerly known as Derry & Toms reopened as Big…

Joanna Murray-Smith as Patricia Highsmith in Switzerland at the Ambassadors Theatre. Photo: Robbie Jack/ Corbis via Getty Images

Intelligent, unfussy, literate – the West End needs more plays like this: Switzerland reviewed

1 December 2018 9:00 am

I know nothing about Patricia Highsmith. The acclaimed American author wrote the kind of Sunday-night crime thrillers that put me…

King David with his musicians: a page from the Vespasian Psalter, 8th century

To say this is a ‘once in a generation’ exhibition seems absurdly modest

17 November 2018 9:00 am

‘The barbarians drive us to the sea, the sea drives us to the barbarians; between these two means of death…

Angela Carter was a master of radio drama

29 September 2018 9:00 am

The writer Angela Carter (born in 1940) grew up listening to the wireless, her love of stories, magic and the…

Face value: Glenn Close as Joan Castleman in The Wife showing how much can be expressed with the tremor of an eyelid

Glenn Close rescues this clumsy new adaptation: The Wife reviewed

29 September 2018 9:00 am

The Wife is an adaptation of the Meg Wolitzer novel (2003) and stars Glenn Close. Her performance is better than…

Ralph Abernathy (seated centre) and C.B. King (seated left) sit on a wagon as 300 protesters march to Atlanta. Photo: Getty/Bettmann

What it was like to be a black lawyer in the deep south in the 60s

8 September 2018 9:00 am

To have been a black lawyer in the deep south of America in the early 1960s would have taken a…

Captain Scott’s 1911 expedition to Antartica, with the Terra Nova anchored in the background, from The Colour of Time

The artist who breathes Technicolour life into historic photographs

4 August 2018 9:00 am

There is something of The Wizard of Oz about Marina Amaral’s photographs. She whisks us from black-and-white Kansas to shimmering…

A new exhibition gives us the real Tolkien – not his awful legacy

7 July 2018 9:00 am

To no one’s surprise, the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition at the Bodleian in Oxford, where J.R.R. spent so much…

Girl power – or groupthink in written form?

Who really wants to read feminist children’s books?

30 June 2018 9:00 am

A friend of mine who commissions book reviews has added a sub-category to the list of titles coming up: ‘femtrend’,…

Joanna Lumley plays Mrs God in BBC Radio 4's new play Michael Frayn's Pocket Playhouse (Credit: ITV/ Rex/ Shutterstock)

Only Radio 4 would allow Ian McKellan and Joanna Lumley to play Mr and Mrs God

2 June 2018 9:00 am

One sphere that podcasts have so far not much penetrated is drama. Audible.co.uk is itching to develop its own brand…

Is PewDiePie the new Harold Bloom?

5 May 2018 9:00 am

The most subscribed to channel on YouTube — by far — belongs to a rather strange young Swede named Felix…

Dear Mary: A work colleague has a brain tumour — and his self pity is annoying me

5 May 2018 9:00 am

Q. When buying a present for a friend, I would not dream of glugging from the bottle or helping myself…

Viv Albertine, left, at Alexandra Palace, 1980; and right, today

Viv Albertine of the Slits on anger, honesty and being an arsey feminist

14 April 2018 9:00 am

Viv Albertine, by her own admission, hurls stuff at misbehaving audiences. Specifically, when the rage descends, any nearby full cup…

Reducing the lead to an demented rape victim is just what ballet needs: The Wind reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

A kindly cowboy, an East Coast bride, adultery, murder and madness. The Wind, Dorothy Scarborough’s 1925 Texas gothic novel (and…

Stitches in time: detail of ‘Embroidery Design’ by May Morris, worked by May Morris and Theodosia Middlemore, c.1900

Is May Morris a feminist cause – a woman of genius unfairly overlooked?

11 November 2017 9:00 am

You may think you don’t know May Morris, daughter of William, but you’ll probably have come across her wallpaper. Her…

Claire Tomalin in 2007

True grit

16 September 2017 9:00 am

As literary editor of the Sunday Times in the early 1980s, when the rest of the editorial staff routinely papered…

Tears of a clown: ‘Clowns hate Stephen King. They blame him for the “creepy clown” epidemic, which has led to multiple clown arrests’

Art of darkness

14 September 2017 1:00 pm

Stephen King, 69, has sold more than 350 million books, and tries not to apologise for being working-class, or imaginative,…

Ivory towers

22 July 2017 9:00 am

Great novels rarely make great movies, but for half a century one director has been showing all the others how…

‘Tennis’, 1930, by Eric Ravilious

Match made in heaven

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Tennis is best played with a wooden racket on a shady lawn somewhere close to Dorking. There is no need…

Secrets of happiness from Britain’s most foul-mouthed angler

4 June 2016 9:00 am

To go fishing on the Itchen in mayfly season, you either have to be very, very rich or very, very…

It’s time to kill James Bond

28 May 2016 9:00 am

After six decades, it’s time we were done with 007

The Heckler: love your music, Macca, just not sure about you

7 May 2016 9:00 am

It’s slightly galling, after years of sticking up for Paul McCartney, to read a new biography of the bloke and…

Books aren’t medicine. They’re more powerful than that

30 April 2016 9:00 am

If we claim books can heal, we must accept they can also harm

What I’ve learned reciting poems in the street

2 April 2016 9:00 am

What I’ve learned from reciting verse in the street