Lawrence Osborne

Lawrence Osborne is a novelist, short-story writer and screenwriter.

The handmade suit I’ll never wear

Someone somewhere must surely have calculated that Bangkok has more doctors and tailors per capita than anywhere on Earth. These two industries, healthcare and clothing, must account for a prodigious share of tourist revenues, and they both operate on similar principles: make the customer feel pleasant even as the results disappoint. It’s a formidable business

Why foreigners can’t speak Thai

For 12 years now I have been learning Thai from my maid, Pi Nong, who has been employed in our building for decades. It’s a much misunderstood relationship. Here the maid is an obligatory fixture, integrated into daily life for foreigners and Thais over the age of 45 and over a fairly modest income level.

The bliss of Phuket’s Millionaire’s Mile

Many of my friends, stranded by the Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strikes, have temporarily given up their film projects and settled down to write that hopeless novel which they could never finish before. Those film projects were more alluring – more necessary – than the lingering novels because they at least held out the prospect

The strange inspiration of the Gobi desert

The first time I went to Mongolia was in 2014, when I travelled across the country with the actress Michelle Rodriguez and a group of her friends, courtesy of the Mongolian-American conservationist Jalsa Urubshurow. Driving out of Ulaanbaatar at dawn, we stopped at a market on the outskirts of the city to buy caviar, blinis

The argument that found its way into The Forgiven

I moved to Bangkok ten years ago in order to be in a place where nothing happens, where no one knew me and where nothing cost very much. A decade on, after a military coup, running street battles between protestors and soldiers, a ceaseless social life and costs reaching about the same levels as Brooklyn,

It’s getting harder to laugh off the idea of UFOs

When the late-night talk-show host James Corden asked Barack Obama about UFOs last month, there was as usual an air of nervous joviality surrounding the subject. Bandleader Reggie Watts pressed him as well and Obama, as if relenting, admitted two things. Firstly, that he could not divulge all that he knew on air; and secondly,

How Korean cinema mastered the art of horror

There is a moment in the Jung brothers’ 2007 ghost film, Epitaph, when a young doctor in wartime Korea realises that the wife he adores does not have a shadow. He is entertaining her with a shadow puppet show in their home when he notices the aberration. ‘Walk to me,’ he says as he waves

Violence has long flowed under Bangkok’s surface

Three years ago I sat down to write a novel set in my adopted home city. Placing its claustrophobic action in the near future, I had no trouble imagining my mostly foreign characters haplessly trapped inside a decaying high-rise apartment complex and surrounded by political upheaval. Thailand has endured more military coups since 1945 than

Shirtmaker Simone Abbarchi

The Premio Rezzori literary prize — held every May in Florence — is named after the Austrian writer Gregor von Rezzori, who lived for years in the small village of Donnini, east of the city, with his aristocratic wife, Beatrice Monte della Corte. Von Rezzori died some years ago but his formidable wife, now 92,