Tom Crewe

Tom Crewe’s first novel, The New Life, won the 2023 Orwell Prize for Political Fiction and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, and is out now in paperback. He is a contributing editor at the LRB.

On the Shelf

Tom Crewe, 13 April 2023

It has always beensaid of George Meredith that, in the words of Oscar Wilde, ‘as a novelist he can do anything except tell a story.’ ‘Regarding narrative,’ J.B. Priestley declared, ‘every novel that Meredith wrote is not merely faulty but downright bad.’ On Meredith’s centenary in 1928, Arnold Bennett summarised the problem: ‘He wanders...

Short Cuts: Dickens and Prince

Tom Crewe, 5 January 2023

Iwas asked​ the other day to name my dream man and dream woman, and answered with Charles II and Mrs Oliphant – Charles II being the hottest of British monarchs (admittedly not a strong field) and Mrs Oliphant the most criminally underrated of 19th-century novelists (see The Ladies Lindores). These are two of ‘my people’, in the sense that Nick Hornby uses the phrase,...

Real Busters: Sickert Grows Up

Tom Crewe, 18 August 2022

Was​ the course of 20th-century British painting set when Walter Sickert decided he didn’t like standing out in the cold? His first biographer (and former student), Robert Emmons, insisted that ‘SICKERT IS ONE OF THE IMPRESSIONISTS’ on the grounds that, though not an original member, he was ‘so closely allied to them both in method and sentiment, as to take his place,...

A Soft Pear: Totally Tourgenueff

Tom Crewe, 21 April 2022

Around six in the morning​ on 19 January 1870, at the Roquette Prison in the eleventh arrondissement, Ivan Turgenev watched as a man was prepared for the guillotine. Four months earlier, Jean-Baptiste Troppmann had murdered, for money, the entire Kinck family – the owner of an engineering works, his heavily pregnant wife and their six children – and buried them in a shallow...

Diary: Wrestling Days

Tom Crewe, 16 December 2021

Noone could understand. My dad used to come in, glare at the TV and stalk off. My mum was bemused. My brother detested it. Once it was no longer cool, the other kids mocked me, and eventually I stopped mentioning it. I didn’t mind the secrecy – my passion acquired a pure intensity this way, stoppered up like a gin. But where did it come from? I liked reading, hated sports, was...

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