Hello & welcome. A short introduction …

I’m a writer – author of a dozen books, mostly about art and artists, and many articles and essays. When I get the chance, I also enjoy working in radio, and with galleries and museums, as a guest curator or exhibition scriptwriter. From 2018 to 2021, I was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus, and I am currently involved in RLF’s Bridge programme for writing development in schools.

You’ll find information in these pages about my books and other projects and media work.

My most recent book, Writers’ Letters: Jane Austen to Chinua Achebe, was co-written with my son Orlando and published by Frances Lincoln in autumn 2021. In September 2022, Thames & Hudson will publish This is Tomorrow: Twentieth-century Britain and its Artists – the story of a century of seismic change viewed through the lens of artists’ work and lives.

***  New book  ***

In Writers’ Letters, we bring together a fascinating selection of letters by 94 masters of the written word – novelists, poets, essayists and playwrights, ranging from Jane Austen to Chinua Achebe, Erasmus to Angela Carter. The book spans 500 years and covers every corner of the globe, with dispatches from Elizabethan London, 1980s Lagos, Chile and China, Austria and Australia. 

By turns entertaining, poignant, tragic and uplifting, these letters tell important, often surprising stories about the history of literature and the daily realities of the writer’s life – like George Bernard Shaw’s response (below) to an advance copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses, ‘a revolting record of a disgusting phase of civilisation’, which won Joyce a bet with his publisher and a box of cigars.

“This book is brilliant in its simplicity … with wonderful explanatory notes. Here is Kurt Vonnegut writing to his family after months as a prisoner of war telling them he is, in fact, alive after many travails, Samuel Beckett praising Harold Pinter for his play The Homecoming (“Affectionately, Sam”); and Henrik Ibsen asking Edvard Grieg to compose incidental music for Peer Gynt. And who knew George Eliot and Harriet Beecher Stowe were pen pals? Savor this book.”

Air Mail staff choice, November 2021

If you’d like to get in touch, please direct message me on Instagram @image_and_word. For rights etc enquiries, please contact Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates.