William Dalrymple's notebook: How I lured Jhumpa Lahiri and Jonathan Franzen to Jaipur

In 2004, ten days after I moved my family to a new life in India, I gave a reading at…

Christopher Isherwood with W. H. Auden  (Photo: John F Stephenson/Getty Images)

The Rothschilds, the Spenders, the Queen...

The novelist David Plante is French-Québécois by ancestry, grew up in a remote Francophone parish in Yankee New England and…


This month has been the launching season for my new collection of poems, Nefertiti in the Flak Tower. Not many…

The death of laughter

If you were stranded on a desert island, Ruth Leon would be the perfect companion.


Michael Ashcroft opens his Diary


Sarah Standing opens her Diary


Boris Johnson opens his Diary


Geoffrey Wheatcroft opens his Diary


Max Hastings opens his Diary


Susannah Herbert opens her Diary

Diary: P.J. O’Rourke

P.J. O’Rourke opens his diary


A.N. Wilson's Diary


Recently I was on a lecture tour in sunbelt America — Alabama and Texas — and mentioned to various people that I commute from the suburb where I live in Westchester County to Manhattan by train.


Miriam Gross opens her Diary


Justin Webb's Diary


Harry was so scared when we entered him in the Best Veteran category in the Friends of Tooting Common Dog Show that he tried to jump out of the ring, and when he found he couldn’t break free he clung on to me for dear life.

In a Greene shade

Some travel writers, in an attempt to simulate the hardship of Victorian journeys, like to impose artificial difficulties on themselves.

Straining for effect

A saint of self-deprecation, Chris Mullin closed the first volume of his diaries A View from the Foothills ‘contemplating oblivion’ after his dismissal from ministerial office.


Keeping the lid on

For all of the nine years that he worked, first as official spokesman for Tony Blair and then as Director of Communications for the government, Alastair Campbell was obliged to defend a huge lie: that all was well at the heart of the New Labour project when, manifestly, it was not.

A literary gypsy

When Lavinia Greacen undertook her magisterial yet intimately sympathetic biography of James Gordon Farrell, she gained access to his diaries and many of his letters, especially love letters and letters to his literary agents, editors and publishers about his professional desires and requirements.

Jim’s especial foibles

As a young man in the 1970s Michael Bloch was the architectural historian and diarist James Lees- Milne’s last (if, we are assured, platonic) attachment, and later became his literary executor.

Was his diary his downfall?

The audiotape of Alan Clark’s Diaries — barely mentioned in this rather Dr Watsonish, sensible shoe of a biography — is well worth hearing.

Life & Letters


Tales out of school

The Old Boys’ Network, by John Rae


Member of the In and Out

A View from the Foothills, by Chris Mullin