Memoir

A frank description of dementia is a searing, suffocating read

5 October 2019 9:00 am

In Annie Ernaux’s The Years — her extraordinary act of collective autobiography —the ‘I’ disappears. Her memoir becomes the memoir…

Everything you always wanted to know about classical music but were afraid to ask

28 September 2019 9:00 am

Novelist, essayist, painter, poet, composer. Oh yes, and pianist: Stephen Hough does all of these things very well — and…

Gales and Gaels — sailing solo from Cornwall to the Summer Isles

28 September 2019 9:00 am

This is the story of a solo voyage in a 31ft- wooden sailing boat called Tsambika. Philip Marsden pilots his…

In praise of Tove Ditlevsen — the greatest Danish writer you’ve never heard of

28 September 2019 9:00 am

Pick up a Penguin Classic from a cult Danish author who ‘struggled with alcohol and drug abuse’ and took her…

Compassion fatigue is as damaging to a doctor’s health as to a patient’s

28 September 2019 9:00 am

Medical training is a process of toughening up: take iron that’s vulnerable to rust, add carbon and make steel. That’s…

Homage to Clement and La Frenais, the writing duo who transformed British comedy

28 September 2019 9:00 am

Ray Galton and Alan Simpson remain pre-eminent as writers of television comedy, but their closest rivals Dick Clement and Ian…

Carry on up the Zambezi

7 September 2019 9:00 am

I loved this book so much I was appalled. Why, when bookshops are stacked full of memoirs by authors who…

For the inhabitants of Ramallah, ‘home’ is just a memory

10 August 2019 9:00 am

On a rainy day in 1955, four-year-old Raja Shehadeh left school without putting his coat on. ‘I will soon be…

Midlife crisis in Montana

8 June 2019 9:00 am

For Joanna Pocock, a midlife crisis is the moment in which ‘bored of the rhythm of our days, whatever those…

From the Odyssey to Njals Saga: a voyage round the great myths

8 June 2019 9:00 am

Six remarkable stories shape this book. Tracing the trajectories of the Odyssey to the Icelandic Njals Saga, via the Kosovo…

My agonising vigil over my twins’ fight for life

8 June 2019 9:00 am

Memoirs about giving birth, a subject once shrouded in mystery, have become so popular that another may seem otiose. We…

The London I loved: nostalgia for a dirty old town

1 June 2019 9:00 am

All cities are shapeshifters, but London is special. London is a palimpsest of places gone but not lost. Even as…

Greece is the word for the New Yorker’s Comma Queen

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Mary Norris’s book about her love affair with Greece and the Greek language starts with a terrific chapter about alphabets.…

Searching for the sublime in deep dark holes

4 May 2019 9:00 am

Edmund Burke, as a young Irish lawyer in 1756, first made the distinction between beauty and sublimity. Beauty for Burke…

Looking back on Baku

4 May 2019 9:00 am

The discovery of oil in Baku brought Ummulbanu Asadullayeva’s family respect if not respectability. Peasant-born, her grandparents ranked by the…

How poetry turned a failing comprehensive into one of Oxford’s most oversubscribed schools

4 May 2019 9:00 am

Kate Clanchy is an extraordinary person. She is a veteran of 30 years’ teaching in difficult state schools, as well…

Should adoptive parents be allowed to pick and choose their child?

4 May 2019 9:00 am

The sorrow of involuntary childlessness is profound. The award-winning novelist Patrick Flanery and his husband knew this pain. Their craving…

Magda was beautiful, perfectly proportioned and elegant — all things her son had not appreciated when she was alive

How my mother survived the Nazis, but took her own life

23 February 2019 9:00 am

When the poet George Szirtes returned as an adult to Budapest, the city of his birth which he had left…

How I tried – and spectacularly failed – to assist my mother’s suicide

9 February 2019 9:00 am

‘If your time ain’t come, not even a doctor can kill you’ — so goes the proverb that best echoes…

Tracey Thorn performing at the Palace, Los Angeles in 1985

The day I woke up... to hear that only Tracey Thorn loved me

9 February 2019 9:00 am

It’s unusual for musicians to become writers. The trajectory of yearning is meant to be the other way around. When…

Francis Bacon in front of his triptych at the Galerie Claude Bernard in the Rue des Beaux Arts, Paris in 1977

France gets a taste for Bacon

12 January 2019 9:00 am

The case of Michael Peppiatt is a curious one. He first met Francis Bacon when he was an undergraduate at…

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In Epping Forest’s dark undergrowth

12 January 2019 9:00 am

In this current era of identity politics and a more fluid approach to gender and sexuality amongst a younger generation,…

Portrait of Casanova. Credit: Getty Images

Casanova: the scandalous libertine who seduced his own daughter

5 January 2019 9:00 am

This monumental unabridged audio production of Casanova’s memoir The Story of My Life in three volumes covers his first 49…

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Insomnia is key to my creativity

3 November 2018 9:00 am

A genre of memoir currently in vogue involves entwining the author’s personal story with the cultural history of a given…

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If only we could hibernate all winter

3 November 2018 9:00 am

As travel writer, nature writer, memory retriever and, I would add, prose-poet of mesmerising lyricism, Horatio Clare is a celebrant…