When Is A Bookshop Not A Bookshop?


…When it’s my home. And only one of many bookcases, I’m afraid. It’s a minor compulsion and nearly under control; I can deal with it. The habit starts young. My mother had a cavalier disregard for books; she’d plough through them, bending corners, filling them with crumbs, dropping them  in the bath, using a fag-end […]

Shelf Interest: Books About Books


‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’ isn’t the only book about books around at this time of the year. I’ve picked up a few already and I’m sure there are more to come. Here’s what I’ve got so far… Bookshops – they look like the cosiest places in the world to work, don’t they? Apparently not, […]

The New British Devil’s Dictionary


In 1867 Ambrose Bierce, American Civil War soldier, wit, and writer, began a satirical dictionary consisting of darkly humorous definitions. The lexicon was written over three decades as a series of installments for magazines and newspapers. Bierce’s observations were imitated for years before he gathered them into books, first as The Cynic’s Word Book in 1906, and […]

The Forgotten Christmas Authors


The yuletide season must already be upon us because the Christmas decorations have been up in Oxford Street for ages. It’s a season full of lost pleasures. John Grossman is the owner of one of the world’s largest collections of Victorian and Edwardian artifacts and ephemera, and wrote ‘Christmas Curiosities: Odd, Dark, and Forgotten Christmas’ […]

Bringing An End To Bibliophobia


Blame the information age; I have a tendency to overshare. Flicking through Amazon Books I stumbled upon (yes, honestly, I really wasn’t looking for them) the comments section for some of my more experimental novels. If you’ve only read the Bryant & May series you have no idea how perverse my mind can be. And […]

Portrait Of The Writer As A Young Twerp

Old author article

Your first novel sticks to you forever. I thought I’d go to my grave being described as ‘The author of ‘Roofworld’. In fact, it was the fourth book I wrote but the first that came with expectations and a decent publicity budget. The book was about gangs on rooftops, but if I was rewriting it […]

The Good, The Bad And The Censored


I regularly wrote the ‘Cinema Book Roundup’ column for the Independent on Sunday and can’t break myself of the habit, which clearly comes from spending so much time working in the industry. These days tell-all biographies have fallen from fashion, to be replaced by studio-sanctioned coffee-table volumes of photographs, but there are plenty of other […]

‘Stay, The Night Is Young And You Are Enormous!’


(This column is an updated version of one that first ran 5 years ago – I’m away for the weekend) As ‘The book of Forgotten Authors wends its way toward the general public, yesterday I looked back over my chaotic files, getting ready to bung a feather duster over them and put them in neat […]

A Message From Our Sponsor (i.e. Me)


In case you think I’ve been taking too much time off to write about tea, let me assure you that I’ve been busy planning the next tranche of books to come your way. First up, on October 5th ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’ launches in the UK. Once there were popular novels almost everyone owned. Mum […]

London Book Round Up


There’s been a marked slowdown in the publication of London books of late. Perhaps so much of the past has now been scrubbed away by new buildings that people aren’t interested in hearing about what once stood beneath tall glass boxes. Happily there are still pockets of fascination to be uncovered, and these books reflect […]