Wootton Bassett: The Town that Wept

​Mourning the fallen soldiers of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars

March 16 2023 / The New Statesman

A Survivor's Story: The Morecambe Bay Tragedy

​The parable of the Chinese cocklepickers

March 19 2022 / The Times

John le Carré: The Secret Life

In the end, the great spy novelist remained an enigma even to himself.

December 12 2020 / Salt Publishing (republished New Statesman)

George Orwell: The Road to Revolution

Orwell wrote Animal Farm at a time of global crisis as a warning about oppressive state power. Its message is as relevant as ever, says the New Statesman editor in a new introduction to the seminal book.

December 4 2020 / Macmillan Publishers

Political Football

​Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling and the rise of the activist super-player

June 24 2020 / New Statesman

An English Elegy

A summer without cricket

June 6 2020 / New Statesman

Covid-19 and Mortality Salience

​The possibility of post-traumatic growth

April 29 2020 / New Statesman

How to be different and better

Can you teach the art of leadership?

February 2020 / New Statesman

The English Question

It is of vital importance to determine what England is before deciding what role England can play in the huge events that are happening

November 27 2019 / New Statesman

Mark Hollis: The Sound of Silence

​A musician of extraordinary depths

February 27 2019 / New Statesman

VS Naipaul: The king of literary rootlessness

Not since Conrad had a novelist so completely absorbed himself in the shifting complexities of his age, or written more sharply about the dark places of the world.

August 13 2018 / New Statesman

England Rising

How the World Cup and Gareth Southgate’s young, diverse team reawakened a sense of progressive English nationalism

July 4 2018 / New Statesman

New Town Blues

The three men had been drinking for several hours by the time they arrived at The Stow shopping centre in Harlow. It was approaching midnight on a warm bank holiday weekend towards the end of August. What happened next would reverberate around the world ...

April 1 2018 / Granta

The Labour Reckoning

​Corbyn, Orwell and the spirit of England

June 2 2017 / New Statesman

The Lost Boy

​Richard Beard seeks to uncover the truth behind a long-ago family tragedy

May 11 2017 / New Statesman

The fall of the golden generation

​How it all went wrong for Labour’s best and brightest

September 15 2016 / New Statesman

Nostalgia, poetry and the spirit of England

​The dominant tone of English discourse is one of regret

August 20 2016 / Financial Times

They don't drink, smoke or go clubbing: they are the new young fogeys

​Was it more fun being young in the 1980s?

June 13 2016 / The Times

The spy who became John le Carré

​The private anguish, and public success of David Cornwell.

October 31 2015 / The Financial Times

The battle for the soul of Essex Man

If Labour are ever again to win an absolute majority, it must start by winning back working-class voters in constituencies like Harlow.

April 30 2015 / New Statesman

George Orwell's luminous truths

The English writer is revealed in all his fierce integrity in a new collection of journalism.

December 6 2014 / Financial Times

A shattered union: the final days of the Scottish referendum campaign

If Britain cannot work out how to stay together when so much unites us – language, culture, shared sacrifice, blood – the portents for the 21st century are dark indeed.

September 13 2014 / New Statesman

Jason Cowley: Does the left hate Israel?

It shouldn’t be a question of either you support Israel, no matter what it does, or you are on the side of the Islamists.

July 28 2014 / New Statesman

Lost Promise: the short, brilliant life of Marina Keegan

As a student, her urgent writing about her generation had already reached a wider audience. Her death, days after graduation, lends her words extra power.

June 20 2014 / Financial Times

The last World Cup: after Brazil 2014, is the tournament finished?

Football is a supreme instrument of soft power and can unite people as little else can. But allegations of Fifa corruption have tarnished the image of the beautiful game. Can anything be done to save it?

June 13 2014 / New Statesman

Eton eternal: How one school came to dominate public life

New Statesman editor Jason Cowley speaks to Anthony Little, headmaster of Eton College, about the role of public schools, the new crop of Etonians ruling public life and Gove’s education reforms.

May 8 2013 / New Statesman

After Orwell

We are missing a British writer to whom we can turn and learn from at moments of national consequence or crisis.

April 19 2013 / Financial Times

Philip Roth and the Nobel Prize in Literature

As he enters his eighties, could the man regarded as America’s greatest living novelist yet win the prize he really wants?

March 16 2013 / Financial Times

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.

November 22 2012 / New Statesman

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. This month, it became the place where a suspicious fire killed six members of a Muslim family.

October 25 2012 / New Statesman

What does David Cameron want?

The Prime Minister’s lack of originality.

July 4 2012 / New Statesman

States of play

American novelists have never been afraid to tackle sport. But will British authors ever take it seriously?

January 21 2012 / Financial Times

Never giving ground

The editor of the New Statesman reflects on the life and legacy of Christopher Hitchens.

January 2 2012 / New Statesman

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?

December 16 2011 / The Daily Beast

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.

September 22 2011 / New Statesman

How good is Martin Amis?

Male rivalry – especially between writers – is a recurrent theme in Amis’s fiction.

April 2011 / From The Good of the Novel, Faber & Faber

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 policy. It could be again, says New Statesman editor Jason Cowley.

October 19 2010 / New Statesman

The corrupted currents

As Jude Law brings a touch of Hollywood to the role of Hamlet, Jason Cowley draws parallels between.

June 11 2009 / New Statesman

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.

March 12 2009 / New Statesman

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.

November 2 2008 / The Observer

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.

May 4 2008 / The Observer

When a son's thoughts turn to murder

For years, Charles Hills was a figure in London literary circles. He was a magazine editor who dreamed of publishing glory but had difficulty escaping a troubled life. But what drove him to the brink of murder? His friend, Granta editor 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.

February 3 2008 / The Observer

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.

January 12 2008 / The Guardian

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.

September 2007 / The World is Everything tour brochure

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?

May 14 2007 / New Statesman

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.

April 29 2007 / The Observer

And the winner is?

Michael Jackson has won 240 of them. Frank Gehry has bagged 130. 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.

October 22 2006 / The Observer

What novelists reveal about the minds of murderers

Authors are ideally placed to give us a true view of terrorism, says Jason Cowley.

August 13 2006 / The Observer

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.

June 25 2006 / The Observer

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.

June 11 2006 / The Observer

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.

April 16 2006 / The Observer

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.

August 7 2005 / The Observer

The libertines

Its publication caused a scandal and it has seduced generations. As Les Liaisons Dangereuses becomes a ballet, Jason Cowley looks at its many incarnations.

July 16 2005 / The Guardian

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?

February 27 2005 / The Observer

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.

August 23 2004 / New Statesman

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.

April 19 2004 / New Statesman

'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.

March 29 2004 / New Statesman

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.

January 12 2004 / New Statesman

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.

October 13 2003 / New Statesman

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.

August 25 2003 / New Statesman

The time of fear

Visions of apocalypse, once confined to science fiction, now dominate mainstream films and novels.

July 21 2003 / New Statesman

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.

June 2 2003 / New Statesman

Why Iceland is hot

Jason Cowley visits Europe’s nearest approximation to a classless society, and asks what secrets lurk in the dark.

December 16 2002 / New Statesman

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.

October 1 2002 / Granta, 79

Down town

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.

August 1 2002 / The Guardian

At home with Hitler

The bomb in a nightclub in the Austrian town of Linz summons up the terrible ghosts of the past.

July 30 2002 / The Guardian

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.

June 5 2002 / New Statesman

Forgotten victims

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.

March 27 2002 / The Guardian

Forward, to the union of humanity

Interpreting the US terrorist attacks through Immanuel Kant, Francis Fukuyama and Tony Blair.

October 15 2001 / New Statesman

Divine Roth

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.

July 2001 / Atlantic Monthly; Prospect, Issue 65

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.

March 11 2001 / The Independent

The beginning of the end

In 1977, the forces of Conservatism and punk were agitating to transform Britain.

October 30 2000 / New Statesman

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.

August 27 2000 / The Independent

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.

June 25 2000 / The Independent

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.

March 30 2000 / The Times

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.

January 31 2000 / New Statesman

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.

January 1 1999 / New Statesman

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.

November 8 1998 / The Sunday Times

When will Russia find a new Tolstoy?

The Russian Booker Prize has galvanised writers to produce controversial winners. Jason Cowley reports.

December 11 1997 / The Times

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.

February 1997 / Prospect, Issue 16