You’ll find information in these pages about my recent and forthcoming publications and author events, along with details of other projects and media work.

My latest book, Artists’ Letters: Leonardo da Vinci to David Hockney, is published by White Lion, who will be bringing out the companion volume, Writers’ Letters, in autumn 2020. I’m currently working on a history of twentieth-century Britain – tracing, I hope, some new paths through this much-traversed field.

This is my second year as Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Exeter University’s Penryn Campus. I’m also working again with the Royal Academy of Music on a new project, following on from last year’s very successful Barbara Hepworth Project. New pieces by postgraduate composers responding to various themes in my book 100 Ideas that Changed Art will be premièred at a concert at RAM in February by the ensemble CHROMA and student instrumentalists.

**** New book ****

“For me, Michael Bird’s Artists’ Letters has proved ideal dipping. Letters reproduced, transcribed and annotated yield rare insights: Leonardo (‘I will assemble catapults’) with (Edward) Lear’s spelling (‘fewcher thyme’) and Mondrian’s sore tooth.”

William Feaver, Guardian Best Books of 2019

Artists’ Letters: Leonardo da Vinci to David Hockney is a collection of about a hundred letters by as many artists. The earliest is from Leonardo da Vinci, sending his cv to the Milanese despot Ludovico Sforza in the 1480s (‘I have methods of destroying every fortress’). The most recent is a postcard sent by Cindy Sherman in the 1990s. In between we eavesdrop on Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Monet, Mark Rothko, Joseph Beuys, Lee Krasner, Yoko Ono. ‘It seems to me,’ writes Dorothea Tanning to Joseph Cornell, ‘that our letters are far more a real barometer of our feelings than when we speak.’

I’m interviewed about the book on Passéisme and in a Widewalls podcast.


To get in touch, please DM me on Instagram @image_and_word. For rights enquiries, please contact Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates.