Biography books

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I was writing a book about Rachmaninov in exile when my own world changed for ever
In lockdown, the Observer’s classical music critic began work on a book about the Russian composer’s later years. Then war, and events in her own life, began to reshape the narrative

Fiona Maddocks

28, May, 2023 @12:00 PM

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The Swimmer: The Wild Life of Roger Deakin by Patrick Barkham review – straight in at the deep end
Barkham conjures the life of the wild swimming champion and author of Waterlog in a bravura act of creative memoir

Alex Preston

28, May, 2023 @10:00 AM

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The Movement Made Us: true story of family and the civil rights struggle
David Dennis Sr and his son have written a compelling and vitally human tale of the fight for justice and the toll it took

Shanita Hubbard

27, May, 2023 @6:00 AM

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Sleeping on Islands by Andrew Motion review – candid stories from the former poet laureate
A revealing memoir illuminates the conflict between wordly success and creative freedom

Kathryn Hughes

25, May, 2023 @10:00 AM

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Johnson at 10 by Anthony Seldon and Raymond Newell review – the great pretender
A howl of scholarly frustration at a prime minister out of his depth

Gaby Hinsliff

24, May, 2023 @8:00 AM

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Ways of Life: Jim Ede and the Kettle’s Yard Artists by Laura Freeman review – an intimate tale of a life in art
This fabulously detailed biography is a fitting testament to the great collector’s cunning, determination and impeccable taste

Tim Adams

23, May, 2023 @6:00 AM

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Martin Luther King, founding father: Jonathan Eig on his epic new biography
A life of Muhammad Ali led the author to his new book, then a prize-winning predecessor played guide and adviser

Charles Kaiser

21, May, 2023 @6:00 AM

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‘If it’s not a risk… it’s nothing’: Nobel laureate Annie Ernaux on her unapologetic career
The French writer transforms her own life into uncompromising autofiction. With new translations, a film, and unwavering activism, the 82-year-old is living life to the full

Alice Blackhurst

21, May, 2023 @6:00 AM

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Jessie Burton: ‘When I am anxious or sad, I reach for Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall’
The novelist on being chilled by Daphne du Maurier, loving Roald Dahl, and taking notes as a mother from Rachel Cusk

Jessie Burton

19, May, 2023 @9:00 AM

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Is This OK? by Harriet Gibsone review – second life
A woman comes of age on the internet in a memoir that swings between funny and profound

Maeve Higgins

18, May, 2023 @8:00 AM

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In brief: Dam Buster, The Cameraman, The Perfect Golden Circle – reviews
A portrait of Barnes Wallis, inventor of the bouncing bomb, a fascist family take a trip through 1930s Europe, and crop circle enthusiasts seek catharsis in the summer of 1989

Alexander Larman

14, May, 2023 @2:00 PM

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Bruno Schulz: An Artist, A Murder, and the Hijacking of History review – an extraordinary mind and a cruel death
Benjamin Balint’s biography of ‘writer’s writer’ Bruno Schulz conjures the fascinating life and afterlife of a genre-defying author and artist

Joe Moshenska

14, May, 2023 @8:00 AM

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