J.K. Rowling

Goodbye Christopher Robin will give your child PTSD

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Scriptwriters love to feast on the lives of children’s authors. The themes tend not to vary: they may have brought…

One of the best new shows of the autumn: Mitchell and Webb’s Back reviewed

9 September 2017 9:00 am

I had planned to review David Mitchell and Robert Webb’s new Channel 4 sitcom Back without constantly referring to their…

J.K. Rowling’s schizophrenic politics

1 July 2017 9:00 am

On the face of it, there is nothing complicated about the politics of Harry Potter, who made his first appearance…

Harry Potter and the millennial mind

24 June 2017 9:00 am

How J.K. Rowling shaped a generation’s politics

‘The Deckcheyrie For Unbalconied Flats… will be found to work perfectly, we shouldn’t wonder. If not we’re sorry’, from How to Live in a Flat, 1936, by W. Heath Robinson and K.R.G. Browne

There was method to the madness of Heath Robinson’s extraordinary illustrations

20 May 2017 9:00 am

I first came across the extraordinary creations of the artist and illustrator William Heath Robinson at least 60 years ago.…

A Neapolitan quartet, Naples 1955

How on earth do you put 1,600 pages of Elena Ferrante on stage?

4 March 2017 9:00 am

How do you distil Elena Ferrante’s monumental Neapolitan quartet into four acts over two evenings? Laura Freeman finds out

Above and below: Quentin Blake’s illustrations for The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots — not the happiest of pairings

The lonely genius of Beatrix Potter

10 December 2016 9:00 am

The story of the extraordinary boom in children’s literature over the last 100 years could be bookended with a ‘Tale…

Can sweet seven-year-old Bana Alabed emerge alive from Aleppo’s rubble?

3 December 2016 9:00 am

Every morning, after the children go to school, I turn on my computer to check that Bana Alabed is alive…

Collector’s item: A note from the composer Edward Elgar, written in 1909 while staying at 22, Old Queen Street — then the home of his patron Felix Schuster, now The Spectator’s offices.

Rare manuscripts are like land and gold . . . their value almost always goes up

1 October 2016 8:00 am

Rare manuscripts give pleasure — and steadily rising value — to discerning collectors

Put a spell on you: Jamie Parker as Harry in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’

Platitudes, banalities and plotlines that punch each other in the face: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reviewed

6 August 2016 9:00 am

Consider it commercially. So powerful is the pull of the Potter franchise that the characters could simply re-enact the plot…

Illustration by Arthur Rackham for Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle

Do myths and folklore damage children’s brains?

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Children’s fantasy literature has never been just one thing. Animal fables, folk and fairy tales were not originally intended for…

James Runcie’s diary: A Willie’s shock at the SNP

9 May 2015 9:00 am

I am writing a play about Dr Johnson and his Dictionary. It will be performed in Scotland later this year.…

UKIP: The First 100 Days, Channel 4, review: a sad, predictable, desperate hatchet job

21 February 2015 9:00 am

Just three months into Ukip’s shock victory as the party of government and already Nigel Farage’s mob are starting to…

J.K. Rowling is just too nice – and too lucky – to satirise publishing

28 June 2014 9:00 am

J.K. Rowling’s second novel under the Robert Galbraith moniker is a whodunit set in the publishing industry. This isn’t a…

Dan Snow's diary: Making World Cup history

21 June 2014 8:00 am

Could there be a more timely advert for the Better Together campaign than on the field of sport? What the…

It’s the summer of the topless man – and there’s nothing we can do to stop it

20 July 2013 9:00 am

Topless men. What does that mean, then? I was opposite one on the tube the other day, heading north from…