Narrative feature

Georges Simenon, photographed in the Navigli district of Milan in the 1950s

If only Georges Simenon had been a bit more like Maigret

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Ian Thomson pays tribute to Maigret’s creator on the 30th anniversary of his death

‘He had a rather melancholy face, and the air of a transplanted hidalgo’, said H.H. Asquith of John Meade Falkner.

In praise of John Meade Falkner: poet, arms-dealer and unforgettable novelist

15 December 2018 9:00 am

A.N. Wilson on the mysterious life of John Meade Falkner

Eric Christiansen at New College in 1972

Geoffrey Wheatcroft remembers his close friend, the historian Eric Christiansen

19 November 2016 9:00 am

Geoffrey Wheatcroft remembers the idiosyncratic historian whose funny, sharp reviews were only bettered by his exquisitely entertaining letters

Photograph by Charles Sturge

Remembering P.J. Kavanagh

19 September 2015 8:00 am

OBITUARY

Why is a fish like a bicycle? Pedro Friedeberg’s letters to Duncan Fallowell may provide a clue at last

11 April 2015 9:00 am

Duncan Fallowell on the elusive Mexican artist and man-of-letters who has been his friend and faithful correspondent over many years —  though they have never met

The really shocking thing about Michel Houllebecq’s Soumission — he rather likes Islam

17 January 2015 9:00 am

News of Michel Houllebecq’s Soumission caused such a stir that the book was pirated online before publication. David Sexton reports on the latest literary event in France

Juliet Townsend (1941-2014)

13 December 2014 9:00 am

Mark Amory remembers a close friend and trusted reviewer

The Parent Trap, familiar from various film versions, is a story by Eric Kastner, now republished with Walter Trier’s illustrations by Pushkin Books

The best children’s books of 2014

29 November 2014 9:00 am

If it’s all right with you, I’d like to launch a campaign please. Right here. You may be wanting me…

From Stephen Collins’s Some Comics

The 10 best loo books of 2014: why we sing so much better in the shower and what became of Queen Victoria’s children’s milk teeth

22 November 2014 9:00 am

Nancy Mitford would not call them ‘toilet books’, that’s for certain. Loo books? Lavatory books? One or two people I…

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

Georges Simenon aged 30 (left) and Jean Gabin (right) in the 1958 film Maigret Tend un Piège — to be shown as part of a season of Maigret films at the Barbican, London (4–26 October). For details visit www.barbican.org.uk.

A salute to Georges Simenon

20 September 2014 9:00 am

The full series of the Maigret novels, together with some of the romans durs, are being republished by Penguin Classics at a rate of one per month. Patrick Marnham salutes a magnificent long-term project.

And one more for the road – excerpts from Roddy Doyle’s latest

20 September 2014 9:00 am

From Two More Pints by Roddy Doyle (Cape, £7.99, pp. 114, ISBN 9780224101899).

Peter and Ian Fleming as boys at Joyce Grove (Peter is on the left)

Ian Fleming: cruel? Selfish? Misogynistic? Nonsense, says his step-daughter

23 August 2014 9:00 am

Between the brothers Peter and Ian Fleming, Fionn Morgan wonders who was the better writer and who the better man

‘He thought he could have made it as a visual artist — if only more people had liked his work.’ Above: John Arlott reading (1977) and Kathy and Jessy (1963)

The gentle intoxications of Laurie Lee

28 June 2014 9:00 am

On Laurie Lee’s centenary, Jeremy Treglown wonders how the writer’s legacy stands up

The success of the Flashman series owed something to the inspired choice of Arthur Barbosa as designer of the covers

The derring-do that created Flashman

24 May 2014 9:00 am

Christopher Maclehose recalls his dealings with the author of the Flashman novels, George Macdonald Fraser

One of three portraits of Dylan Thomas by Alfred Janes

Dylan Thomas: boozer, womaniser, sponger, charlatan — or master craftsman?

10 May 2014 9:00 am

In Dylan Thomas’s centenary year, Hilly Janes recalls her father’s friendship with the poet and his visits to the Boat House at Laugharne

A cult of inspired amateurishness that seized the 60s

3 May 2014 9:00 am

Hugo Williams describes his early association with The Exploding Galaxy — a group of innovative artists, musicians, poets and dancers that burst on the London scene in the late 1960s

Recent crime fiction

26 April 2014 9:00 am

Louise Welsh rarely repeats herself, a quality to celebrate in a crime novelist. Her latest novel, A Lovely Way to…

Jacqueline Wilson: 'The first book that made me cry'

12 April 2014 9:00 am

Rumer Godden’s An Episode of Sparrows, first published in 1955, focuses on the roaming children — the ‘sparrows’ — of a shabby street in bomb-torn London. When ten-year-old Lovejoy Mason finds a packet of cornflower seeds and decides to create an ‘Italian’ garden hidden in a rubble-strewn churchyard, the consequences are life-changing for all who become involved. Below is the foreword to a recent reissue of the novel (Virago Modern Classics, £7.99, Spectator Bookshop, £7.49).