Spy Chief at Buckingham Palace (Photo: Getty)

Sir Maurice Oldfield: a spymaster smeared

27 August 2016 9:00 am

In March 1981 Margaret Thatcher went to the hospital bedside of Maurice Oldfield, the former head of the Secret Intelligence…

‘Stack building, Malvern Hills’, by Laura Knight

A.E. Housman: the laureate of repression

2 July 2016 9:00 am

A.E. Housman’s poems leave us with the impression of fire that has been carefully wrapped in ice, says Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

Author Rose Tremain (Photo: Getty)

Rose Tremain’s The Gustav Sonata strikes all the right notes

2 July 2016 9:00 am

Rose Tremain sets the true story of Police Captain Paul Grüninger, commander of the Swiss border force in Canton Saint…

Britten and Pears, photographed by Cecil Beaton

The Britten-Pears relationship: no longer an (open) secret

2 July 2016 9:00 am

‘You are the most adorable man and artist, intelligent, gifted, simple, loving and noble… I am really very, very lucky…

Roland Penrose sculpting

The surreal life — and loves — of Roland Penrose

25 June 2016 8:00 am

Roland Penrose: The Life of a Surrealist

Jeremy Thorpe leaves the Old Bailey (Photo: Getty)

Jeremy Thorpe gets off Scott-free

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Appropriately for the dog days of British politics, there’s plenty of canine activity in this neatly groomed account of the…

Scientology founder L. Ronald Hubbard (Photo: Getty)

At last – Going Clear is over here

23 April 2016 9:00 am

At last! It has taken over two years, but a British publisher has summoned up the nerve to bring out…


T.E. Lawrence: from young romantic to shame-shattered veteran

16 April 2016 9:00 am

T.E. Lawrence is seen as a ‘metaphor for imperialism, violence and betrayal’ in the Middle East. But woeful Arab leadership has also been to blame for the region’s problems, says Justin Marozzi

Soviet living

Sex behind the scenes at Sofia’s National Palace of Culture

9 April 2016 9:00 am

Garth Greenwell’s debut novel is as dreary and oppressive as the Soviet-era apartment buildings among which it takes place. But…

The writer Natalie Barney and painter Romaine Brooks in Paris c. 1915

From Auden to Wilde: a roll call of gay talent

9 April 2016 9:00 am

The Comintern was the name given to the international communist network in the Soviet era, advancing the cause wherever it…

‘Like Georgia O’Keefe, Mapplethorpe eroticised flowers — possibly finding them more biddable than his frisky partners in gimp masks and chains.’ Left: Self-portrait, 1982. Right: Calla Lily

Robert Mapplethorpe: bad boy with a camera

2 April 2016 9:00 am

Robert Mapplethorpe made his reputation as a photographer in the period between the 1969 gay-bashing raid at the Stonewall Inn…

Heroin or cocaine drug line

Hitting rock bottom in LA

19 March 2016 9:00 am

The title of this book tells you a lot. Jack Sutherland, who grew up in London and Los Angeles, worked…

Happy early days: Erika and Klaus in 1927

Was Klaus Mann all Thomas Mann's fault?

27 February 2016 9:00 am

Thomas Mann, despite strong homosexual emotions, had six children. The two eldest, Erika and Klaus, born in 1905 and 1906…

Griffith in 1961, at the height of his powers

A portrait of a gay boxer

3 October 2015 9:00 am

I don’t like boxing. If I ever get into a boxing ring, I’ll be in the corner with the governor…

William Mars-Jones (right) attends the second day of the Moor Murders, 1966 (Photo: AP)

The trials of living with a High Court judge

29 August 2015 9:00 am

This intensely written memoir by Adam Mars-Jones about his Welsh father, Sir William, opens with the death of Sheila, Adam’s…

Hanya Yanagihara (Photo: Jenny Westerhoff)

An epic study of trauma and friendship in the age of self-invention

15 August 2015 9:00 am

Just over a century after Virginia Woolf declared that ‘on or about December 1910 human character changed’, the American novelist…

Patrick Gale Photo: Ulf Andersen/Getty

Life after Vera: Patrick Gale’s hero finds happiness towards the end of the Saskatchewan line

21 March 2015 9:00 am

Patrick Gale’s first historical novel is inspired by a non-story, a gap in his own family record. His great-grandfather Harry…

Headline News

Hock and partridge help fascism go down in 1930s London

14 March 2015 9:00 am

Anthony Quinn’s fourth novel, set in London’s artistic and theatrical circles in 1936, is not the kind in which an…

French journalist Eric Zemmour Photo: Getty

Is France now the sick man of Europe? It is if it’s taking Eric Zemmour seriously

22 November 2014 9:00 am

Graham Robb on the book currently taking France by storm

Cat among the pigeons: Jennifer Fry, the exotic beauty who so disrupted life at Farringdon House in the 1940s

My mad gay grandfather and me

18 October 2014 9:00 am

Mirabel Cecil on Lord Berners’s volatile ménage — as surprising and colourful as his famous dyed doves

Tennessee Williams on the stage set of A Streetcar Named Desire (1947)

Confused, unbalanced, brilliant: the Blanche Dubois of Tennessee Williams biographies

20 September 2014 9:00 am

Thomas W. Hodgkinson finds John Lahr’s ‘stand-alone’ biography of Tennessee Williams as confused and unbalanced as Streetcar’s heroine

Charles Scott Moncrieff (left) had a deep personal affinity with Proust (right). His rendering of 'À La Recherche du Temps Perdu' is considered one of the greatest literary translations of all time

Soldier, poet, lover, spy: just the man to translate Proust

16 August 2014 9:00 am

Sam Leith is astonished by how much the multi-talented Charles Scott Moncrieff achieved in his short lifetime


Sex and squalor in San Francisco

5 April 2014 9:00 am

Frog Music begins with a crime against a young mother, committed in a tiny space. Unlike Emma Donoghue’s bestselling novel…


Was Roy Jenkins the greatest prime minister we never had?

29 March 2014 9:00 am

Roy Jenkins may have been snobbish and self-indulgent, but he was also a visionary and man of principle who would have made a good prime minister, says Philip Ziegler

An almost masochistic docility: E.M. Forster in his youth

What E.M. Forster didn't do

8 March 2014 9:00 am

‘On the whole I think you should write biographies of those you admire and respect, and novels about human beings…