Ysenda Maxtone Graham


The best short story collections — from childish gabbling to jaded nihilism

28 November 2015 9:00 am

Anyone who enjoyed Ali Smith’s novel How to be Both, with its charmingly loopy monologue of an Italian Renaissance painter…

‘Have you done this in class?’ Essays often require a lot of help from parents – and Wikipedia

What’s the point of homework?

19 September 2015 9:00 am

Homework is meant to inculcate a love of learning in students, but Ysenda Maxtone Graham thinks it’s at least as likely to do the reverse


The perfect big bang that opens this book was too good to be true

19 September 2015 8:00 am

Houses, as any plumber will testify, do sometimes blow up in gas explosions, destroying their contents and inhabitants, but would…


Breast-feeding isn't always best

29 August 2015 9:00 am

New mothers who can’t keep to the breast-feeding orthodoxy face needless misery and shame


Is popping bubble-wrap like sex – or just like killing ticks?

25 July 2015 9:00 am

The secrets of bubble-wrap and other delicious little sensations


Which comes first — the chicken or the pig?

13 June 2015 9:00 am

Here are two parallel books, both by Americans, both 260 pages (excluding indexes) long, both using ‘likely’ as an adverb.…


What does your front garden say about you?

23 May 2015 9:00 am

What does your front garden say about you?

‘Ass And The Angel’. A child kisses a donkey at the seaside, circa 1935. Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images

Brian Sewell does some donkey work: how Britain’s best-known art critic put his ass on the line

4 April 2015 9:00 am

I suppose all children’s authors write the stories they would have liked to read as children. But in the case of…


In praise of messy old kitchens

28 March 2015 9:00 am

Against sterile modern kitchens

Few shall be chosen… perhaps only one in eight

The truth about private school admissions

14 March 2015 9:00 am

Your child may not Get In, says Ysenda Maxtone Graham


It takes a village (or six): the battle for rural churches

21 February 2015 9:00 am

Can England’s 10,000 rural churches survive?


How to stop being scared of full stops

24 January 2015 9:00 am

Modern manners and the fear of the full stop


The elephant boy and the princess: Elif Shafak’s latest saga, set in medieval Istanbul, is a real page-turner

10 January 2015 9:00 am

If you like to curl up by the fire with a proper, old-fashioned, saga-style tale about a boy and his…

Singers Recording

A beautiful speaking voice is a window to the soul

6 December 2014 9:00 am

A beautiful speaking voice draws attention to the words spoken

The ossuary at Sedlec in Czechoslovakia, where garlands of skulls drape the vault. The chapel is thought to contain the skeletons of up to 70,000 people

In search of dead men's bones

15 November 2014 9:00 am

Skulls, femurs, ribs, pelvises, piled on top of each other in a chaotic heap: this, Denise Inge discovered, was what…

Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art

It’s not easy for a middle-aged woman to get inside the head of a 12-year-old innkeeper’s son in 1914

13 September 2014 9:00 am

Esther Freud wrote dazzlingly in the first person through the eyes of a five-year-old child in her first novel, Hideous…


Decline and rise again

6 September 2014 9:00 am

Verb says to noun, ‘Would you like to conjugate?’ Noun replies, ‘No, I decline.’ A nice witticism for Latin-lovers brought…


Women bishops at last

19 July 2014 9:00 am

The vote on women bishops is a triumph for our diplomatic Archbishops


The Snow Queen crawls at snail’s pace – and you wouldn’t want it any other way

17 May 2014 9:00 am

For all would-be novelists whose stumbling block is that they can’t resist describing every single sensation in depth — the…

A wounded soldier is carried through the mud near Boesinghe during the battle of Passchendaele in Flanders Photo: Getty

When No Man's Land is home

25 January 2014 9:00 am

Countless writers and film-makers this year will be trying their hand at forcing us to wake up and smell the…


There is nothing quite like the prep-school play

7 September 2013 9:00 am

Ysenda Maxtone Graham uncovers the secrets of a storming prep-school play

As Green as Grass, by Emma Smith - review

17 August 2013 9:00 am

The title, the subtitle, the author’s plain name, even the jacket’s photograph of a laughing old lady in sunglasses: none…

A Corner of Paradise, by Brian Thompson - review

10 August 2013 9:00 am

Author has late-blossoming romance with authoress, both divorcees, and they live together in a cramped house in Harrogate full of…


Don’t jump, Felipe!

1 June 2013 9:00 am

The weird world glimpsed at through maths exam questions

Female undergraduates were goaded into growing vegetables by being threatened with a diet consisting only of rice

A Green and Pleasant Land: How England’s Gardeners Fought the Second World War, by Ursula Buchan – review

16 March 2013 9:00 am

Here are some statistics about wartime fruit- and vegetable-growing in England which this book tells us. In 1942-3, there were…