William Skidelsky

William Skidelsky is the author of Federer and Me: A Story of Obsession.

Why Europe riots

36 min listen

This week: In the magazine we look at the recent protests in France. The Spectator’s Douglas Murray argues that racism is not the problem but that a significant chunk of the unintegrated immigrant population is. He is joined by Dr Rakib Ehsan, author of Beyond Grievance: What the Left Gets Wrong about Ethnic Minorities, to investigate why Europe

Watch out Wimbledon: padel is taking over

For the past 15 years, I’ve had an entirely healthy compulsion – my wife, I suspect, would disagree – to play tennis at least twice a week. I assumed this habit was so ingrained that nothing short of a calamitous injury could ever keep me from my fix. Spain is where the craze took hold.

Roger Federer is the Shakespeare of tennis

It was the news we were supposed to be ‘dreading’: the confirmation that Roger Federer was finally hanging up his racket. But when I heard the announcement on Thursday, my feelings were more akin to pained relief. For a long time now, being a Federer fan has felt a bit like being in a relationship

Rich pickings | 29 November 2012

Despite its playfully obfuscating title, the rationale behind this anthology is pretty straightforward. A ‘fake’ is a fictional text that purports to be — or, perhaps more accurately, is presented in the guise of — a non-fictional document. Of course, there’s nothing new about stories of this type: the epistolary novel has been around for

Wit and wisdom

‘To enclose the collected works of Cocteau one would need not a bookshelf, but a warehouse,’ W. H. Auden wrote in 1950. The same isn’t quite true of Auden — a warehouse wouldn’t be necessary — but it has to be said that only a bookshelf of substantial proportions would be capable of accommodating the

A world without frontiers

Alberto Manguel, the dust jacket informs us, is an ‘anthologist, translator, essayist, novelist, and editor’ who was born in Argentina, moved to Canada in the 1980s and now lives partly in France. A generous gloss on this would be to say that he is an intrepid crosser of boundaries, someone whose identity is too open-ended

The critic and the novelist

Novelists do not always make the best critics, and vice versa. But there are writers — Henry James, Virginia Woolf and John Updike spring to mind — who are similarly gifted in both fields. Such cases are interesting because of the questions they raise about the relationship between the novels and the criticism. How similar

Shooting the breeze for free

The Paris Review came into being in 1953, when a group of young Americans living in Paris, among them George Plimpton and William Styron, decided to start a literary magazine. Their intention was to get away from the academic factionalism that then prevailed in literary journals, and simply publish good writing, whether fiction, poetry or