John O'London's Weekly

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John O'London's Weekly
Categories literary magazines
Frequency Weekly
First issue April 1919
Final issue September 1954
Company George Newnes
Country United Kingdom
Based in London
Language English

John O'London's Weekly was a weekly literary magazine that was published by George Newnes Ltd of London between 1919 and 1954. In 1960 it was briefly brought back into circulation.[1] Regarded as the leading literary magazine in the British Empire, at its height it had a circulation of 80,000, and it was popular among young and older readers alike.

Founded in April 1919, John O'London's Weekly got its title from the pen name of one of its early editors, Wilfred Whitten, and its content featured contributions from both the best known literary names of the day as well as newer less well known writers. Regular contributors included Robert Wilson Lynd, Winston Churchill, Rebecca West, H. E. Bates, Arnold Bennett, Max Beerbohm, John Brophy, W. Somerset Maugham and H. L. A. Hart.[2]

The magazine regularly featured a literate section on English grammar and word usage, and would recommend carefully selected good books.

Although John O'London's Weekly was very popular during the inter-war years, the outbreak of the Second World War had a dramatic impact on its circulation. Sales were reduced due to newsprint regulations and as many of its readers joined the services. High costs and changing tastes meant that sales did not recover after the war, and in September 1954 the magazine's publishers announced that publication would cease.

References in popular culture[edit]

John O'London's Weekly appears in Frank McCourt's book Angela's Ashes. While McCourt is delivering magazines to shops for the company Eason's, his boss learns from the Irish government that copies of John O'London's Weekly must be censored because they contain an article about birth control. McCourt tells of how he and his boss visit newsagents around Limerick to tear pages from copies, much to the disdain of the shop owners.[3]


  1. ^ Gary Walker, "John O'London's Weekly", Books and Life, 16 March 2010.
  2. ^ Sugarman, David; Hart, H. L. A. (2005). "Hart Interviewed: H.L.A. Hart in Conversation with David Sugarman". Journal of Law and Society. Blackwell. 32 (2): 267–293. JSTOR 3557228. 
  3. ^ McCourt, Frank (2005) [1996]. Angela's Ashes: A Memoir. Harper Perennial. pp. 408–12. ISBN 978-0-00-720523-3. 

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