Letter from Israel: The endless war
Reporting from Tel Aviv and Ramallah as the latest rash of violence began to sweep Israel, Jason Cowley finds a nation implacably set on a course of war . . . and increasingly disconnected from the world.
New Statesman, November 22nd 2012
Letter from Harlow: Reaching for utopia
After the war, Harlow was supposed to offer east Londoners the chance of a fresh start and a stab at the good life.
New Statesman, October 25th 2012
What does David Cameron want?
The Prime Minister's lack of originality.
New Statesman, July 4th 2012
States of play
American novelists have never been afraid to tackle sport. But will British authors ever take it seriously?
Financial Times, January 21st 2012
Never giving ground
The editor of the New Statesman reflects on the life and legacy of Christopher Hitchens.
New Statesman, January 2nd 2012
How Will Hitchens Be Remembered?
Will Christopher Hitchens, who has died at the age of 62, be remembered as a great writer or as a great orator and intellectual entertainer?
The Daily Beast, December 16th 2011
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: An elegy for England
John le Carré’s classic novel, now adapted for the big screen, is much more than a cold war whodunnit.
New Statesman, September 22nd 2011
Martin Amis, The Information
Male rivalry – especially between writers – is a recurrent theme in Amis's fiction.
From The Good of the Novel, Faber & Faber, April 2011
The Coming Battle Over Land And Property
There was a time, in the days of Lloyd George and then Attlee, when land reform was a convulsive political issue. It should be so again.
New Statesman, October 19th 2010
The corrupted currents
As Jude Law brings a touch of Hollywood to the role of Hamlet, Jason Cowley draws parallels between the world of the great plays and the plight of our embattled Prime Minister.
New Statesman, June 11th 2009
1989 The year of the crowd
New Statesman editor Jason Cowley introduces a special issue on the year that saw the Berlin Wall come down.
New Statesman, March 12th 2009
It's not cricket - it's a jamboree of greed and self-publicity
More than any other sport, cricket was once imbued with an ethic of fair play; it was a game that revealed moral character.
The Observer, November 2nd 2008
If they build it, you will come
Dubai wants to be the ultimate sporting city. And, says Jason Cowley, it's not such a ridiculous idea.
The Observer, May 4th 2008
A shot rang out ...
Brutal and spare, Cormac McCarthy's work is also full of beauty and love. He is one of the greatest living novelists, argues Jason Cowley.
The Guardian, January 12th 2008
When a son's thoughts turn to murder
For years, Charles Hills was a figure in London literary circles. But what drove him to the brink of murder? His friend, Jason Cowley, traces the story of Hills's mental and spiritual decline, from gifted youth to Oxford student and finally to his cell in Belmarsh prison.
The Observer, February 3rd 2008
Of Music and Silence
Where to locate the music of David Sylvian? His journey from the centre of planet pop to the margins of the avant-garde is certainly one of the most unusual in contemporary music.
The World is Everything Tour brochure, 2007
The politics of excitement
The Blair decade began with an exuberant rush of energy and sense of possibility. How can politics recapture the ability to inspire us? Hard action and clear choices?
New Statesman, May 14th 2007
Why we have fallen for Africa's lost boys
Brutalised, war-ravaged and drugged-up, the child soldiers of Sierra Leone and Sudan have become a shocking symbol of today's violent world.
The Observer, April 29th 2007
And the winner is?
The culture of prize-giving has gone mad. We enjoy the glamour of a Booker or an Oscar night, but we lose something too in this orgy of awards, says Jason Cowley.
The Observer, October 22nd 2006
What novelists reveal about the minds of murderers
Authors are ideally placed to give us a true view of terrorism, says Jason Cowley.
The Observer, August 13th 2006
In the east, the Cup does not overflow
Dresden was not chosen to host a single World Cup game, even though the stated intention of the organising committee, at least when it was bidding for the World Cup, was to incorporate the east so that it became a tournament for the whole country.
The Observer, June 25th 2006
The Cup that rules the world
It unites continents, is watched by billions and its stars are treated as living gods. No contest can touch it for suspense or despair. Jason Cowley celebrates sport's premier competition.
The Observer, June 11th 2006
Cecil Rhodes's dream ends where it began - in Bishop's Stortford
We have just rented out our house in the quiet market town of Bishop's Stortford to a South African family. They arrived one morning in a friend's car, suitcases packed high on the back seat, resembling nothing so much as refugees fleeing a war zone.
The Observer, April 16th 2006
A new life for the novel
After 9/11, writers feared that the new age of terror would overwhelm their ability to reflect the world. But it has only heightened their powers. As the Booker panel prepares to announce its longlist, a former judge argues that this is the best year yet for British fiction since the prize began.
The Observer, August 7th 2005
The astonishing history of Dangerous Liaisons
Its publication caused a scandal and it has seduced generations. As Les Liaisons Dangereuses becomes a ballet, Jason Cowley looks at its many incarnations.
The Guardian, July 16th 2005
Rebirth of a nation
The Oscar-nominated Hotel Rwanda is one of several movies and novels about the genocide. But is it fair to reduce events of such magnitude to a single dramatic entertainment? Can telling a story ever be the same as telling the truth?
The Observer, February 27th 2005
A few rich people, many of them aristocrats, own 69 per cent of the land in Britain. As a result, house prices are so high, millions can't afford to buy a home.
New Statesman, September 20th 2004
We can be heroes
George Orwell was troubled by the way in which boys' weeklies evaded the problems of contemporary society, seeing it as a form of covert political control. But we didn't read comics for realism, writes Jason Cowley. We read them to be inspired.
New Statesman, August 23rd 2004
Where pink shirts mark out the killers
Jason Cowley travels to Rwanda with Hilary Benn, the International Development Secretary, and finds that the perpetrators of genocide, though visible everywhere, are neither abused nor shunned.
New Statesman, April 19th 2004
'This is not the country it was when Labour returned to power in 1997'
What do we mean by multiculturalism? In Britain, it once meant embracing the diverse traditions of the old empire, but the wider migration of recent years has changed all that. Jason Cowley explores the implications and canvasses the views of leading thinkers
New Statesman, March 29th 2004
The underground men
Some find true freedom when they are confined; others, like Saddam Hussein, meet their nemesis. From Dickens through Dostoevsky to Beckett, the hole in literature has become a metaphor for isolation, a place of safety or danger, a sanctuary or a prison.
New Statesman, January 12th 2004
The white writer in South Africa
Despite a Booker nomination and a Nobel Prize, these writers, unheard in their own land, feel oppressed by emptiness. The white South African novelist profiled by Jason Cowley.
New Statesman, October 13th 2003
The great game
Throughout its 35-year history, the Booker Prize has never failed to generate controversy, gossip and scandal-and that is precisely its purpose. Jason Cowley on what remains the publishing event of the year.
New Statesman, August 25th 2003
The time of fear
Visions of apocalypse, once confined to science fiction, now dominate mainstream films and novels.
New Statesman, July 21st 2003
This charming man
It is 20 years since The Smiths' first hit transformed the British music scene. Jason Cowley on pop's antidote to early Thatcherism - intriguing front man Morrissey.
New Statesman, June 2nd 2003
Why Iceland is hot
Jason Cowley visits Europe's nearest approximation to a classless society, and asks what secrets lurk in the dark.
New Statesman, December 16th 2002
The Search for Dr Bloch
Dr Bloch had an interesting story to tell. He had known Hitler at first hand; nearly forty years before he had been the Hitler family's doctor.
Granta, 79, October 1st 2002
MPs say that Britain's new towns are failing after decades of neglect. So what went wrong? Jason Cowley returns to Harlow, where he was brought up, to find out.
The Guardian, August 1st 2002
At home with Hitler
The bomb in a nightclub in the Austrian town of Linz summons up the terrible ghosts of the past.
The Guardian, July 30th 2002
France: into the void
Those who voted for Le Pen belong to a generation which, in the words of one writer, "knows that pleasure is the opposite of happiness". Jason Cowley on a nation's cultural emptiness.
New Statesman, May 6th 2002
Much has been written about the suffering that the Nazis inflicted during world war two. But who remembers the two million Germans who died after hostilities ended? Jason Cowley reports on a country reassessing its past.
The Guardian, March 27th 2002
Forward, to the union of humanity
Interpreting the US terrorist attacks through Immanuel Kant, Francis Fukuyama and Tony Blair.
New Statesman, October 15th 2001
No writer had been more adept at exploiting postmodern ideas of the instability of the self and the slippage between autobiography and fiction, but this time it seemed as though Roth had reached a terminus, the point at which his stylised self-obsession had become a poetics of despair.
Atlantic Monthly; Prospect, Issue 65, July 2001
Cyprus: The view beyond the Green Line
Perhaps only Trieste, the cosmopolitan port on the shadowy, disputed borderlands between Italy and the former Yugoslavia, and Lisbon, with its brooding sense of an empire lost, have quite the same atmosphere as Cyprus: the same sense of vivid ghostliness.
Independent, March 11th 2001
The beginning of the end
In 1977, the forces of Conservatism and punk were agitating to transform Britain.
New Statesman, October 30th 2000
Hatred fuels football clash of the Old Firm
It used to be said that if you wanted to discover someone's religion in Glasgow, you simply asked which football team they supported.
The Independent, August 27th 2000
Trieste: In the wake of James Joyce
There is something mysterious and unaccountable about Trieste, a certain kind of vivid ghostliness that has struck many visitors to the cosmopolitan Adriatic port.
The Independent, June 25th 2000
What's new? What's old, more like
Many books deserve better than simply to fade out of print: but what's to be done in an industry obsessed with novelty? Jason Cowley discovers that he's not the only one who treasures lost literary gems.
The Times, March 30th 2000
Bridge over troubled water
The new bridge uniting Sweden and Denmark is a towering icon of science and modernity; it is also a powerful symbol of the onward march to a borderless Europe.
New Statesman, January 31st 2000
Diary - narrative of a visit to Moscow, Russia
In Moscow's Hungry Duck, everyone dances on the bar. Soon, you feel, there will be a cleansing, apocalyptic fire.
New Statesman, January 1st 1999
Was the pity all in the poetry?
The Great War lives on vividly in poems now the 80th anniversary of the armistice has triggered a new publishing boom. But do books bring us closer to the truth, asks Jason Cowley.
The Sunday Times, November 8th 1998
When will Russia find a new Tolstoy?
The Russian Booker Prize has galvanised writers to produce controversial winners. Jason Cowley reports.
The Times, December 11th 1997
Journey to the end of the night
Francis Stuart, one of Ireland's finest living writers, spent the last war in Berlin writing scripts for Lord Haw Haw. Jason Cowley visits the 94 year old writer in his Dublin bungalow and considers the relationship between great art and brutal politics in the lives of Stuart, Céline and Knut Hamsun.
Prospect, Issue 16, February 1997