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Lara Prendergast

Following suit

Why do Tories all look the same? This year, having never been to a party conference before, I went to the Labour one in Brighton, then the Tory one in Manchester. At each, the political weather was what you’d expect. What struck me most, however, was the difference in clothing. In Brighton, I saw women

The shootings prove…

It is terribly important whenever an atrocity occurs to scour the internet for information — however specious — that proves you were right all along about something. It is best to do this before the authorities have made their official statements about the outrage, but also while they are doing it and afterwards. But speed

Say nothing

To my embarrassment, ever since my novel We Need to Talk About Kevin was published in 2003, I’ve been a go-to girl regarding American mass murders. I’m embarrassed because my credentials are so poor — I’m only an expert on a school killer I made up — and because I’ve so little to say. That’s

The great unknowns

Have you heard about the invention that cures your smartphone addiction? Whereas normally you can’t go more than a minute or two without checking your phone, this invention allows you to sit with the thing safely tucked away in your pocket or bag, not giving it a second thought. The invention is known as the

Spanish practices

In October 1936, on the anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of the New World, a ceremony was held at Salamanca University, in the heart of the nationalist Spain, to celebrate the ‘Day of the Race’. The Bishop of Salamanca, who had recently offered up his episcopal palace to be Franco’s headquarters, stood in the great hall

Imran’s biggest test

It’s been a long journey for Imran Khan. He founded his political party, PTI (Pakistan Movement for Justice), in 1996, and for many years made no real progress. Many mocked him. The Guardian journalist Declan Walsh dismissed him as ‘a miserable politician’, whose ideas and affiliations had ‘swerved and skidded like a rickshaw in a

Low spirits

You may have noticed that we’re in the throes of a 21st-century Gin Craze. It’s not as serious as the one which began in the 1720s, when London was awash with the stuff, much of it adulterated with turpentine, alum and sulphuric acid, but it’s still an irritation with no signs of an imminent hangover.

Sentences without end

My first sight of Colin was as a lanky manifestation lying on a desk in the Dartmoor prison education department where I was working as the writer-in-residence. He looked a bit like Ian Curtis; he was mid-twenties, clever and funny. He was also on an IPP — imprisonment for public protection sentence — for GBH,

Putin the peacemaker

When Russia entered the Syrian civil war in September 2015 the then US secretary of defense, Ash Carter, predicted catastrophe for the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin was ‘pouring gasoline on the fire’ of the conflict, he said, and his strategy of fighting Isis while backing the Assad regime was ‘doomed to failure’. Two years on, Putin


Notebook | 5 October 2017

To Skibo Castle for a four-day wedding, a dream of super-luxury and great good fun. I was struck by how the American rich are saving the Highlands. Skibo is supported by a band of mega-wealthy Americans, some of whom have invested heavily in the nearest town of Dornoch, which is thriving as a result. They

Notes on...

Soho drinking clubs

When someone says ‘Let’s go for a drink at my club’, what do you imagine? A grand St James’s establishment like Boodle’s or White’s, or perhaps a media hangout such as the Groucho or Soho House? What you probably don’t think of is an unmarked door and a flight of rickety stairs. Yet through unpromising-looking