Philip Hensher

The Golden Age of British Short Stories

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One of today’s sharpest critical minds, the novelist and critic Philip Hensher talks about his dazzling and revealing compendium of short stories. The Golden Age of British Short Stories (1890-1914) sheds light on a teeming, strange, magical world, about to be brought to an end by the catastrophe of 1914. In this period, the short story form inspired many of our greatest writers, competing against one another for a large new magazine readership. 

This was the era of Sherlock Holmes, of Kipling's most famous stories, of MR James, Saki,  Katherine Mansfield and Joyce's Dubliners, while the quest to define what was acceptable to write and how you could write drove writers to remarkable acts of experimentation. In doing so, they collectively told a tale about a fascinating moment in British history. In conversation with Stuart Kelly.

Sometimes - not often - a book comes along that feels like Christmas. Philip Hensher's timely, but timeless, selection of the best short stories from the past 20 years is that kind of book. His introduction is as enriching as anything that has been published this year,” Sunday Times

Philip Hensher has written nine novels, including The Mulberry Empire, the Booker-shortlisted The Northern Clemency, King of the Badgers and Scenes from Early Life, which won the Ondaatje Prize in 2012. He is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Bath Spa and lives in South London and Geneva.


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