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London Review of Books

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London Review of Books
EditorJean McNicol, Alice Spawls
CategoriesLiterature, history, ideas[1]
Frequency24 per year
PublisherReneé Doegar
Founded1979; 45 years ago (1979)
CountryUnited Kingdom
Based inBloomsbury, London

The London Review of Books (LRB) is a British literary magazine published bimonthly (twice a month) that features articles and essays on fiction and non-fiction subjects, which are usually structured as book reviews.[2]


The London Review of Books was founded in 1979,[2] when publication of The Times Literary Supplement was suspended during the year-long lock-out at The Times.[3] Its founding editors were Karl Miller, then professor of English at University College London; Mary-Kay Wilmers, formerly an editor at The Times Literary Supplement; and Susannah Clapp, a former editor at Jonathan Cape. For its first six months, it appeared as an insert in The New York Review of Books.[4] It became an independent publication in May 1980. Its political stance has been described by Alan Bennett, a prominent contributor, as "consistently radical".[5]

Unlike The Times Literary Supplement (TLS), the majority of the articles the LRB publishes (usually fifteen per issue) are long essays. Some articles in each issue are not based on books, while several short articles discuss film or exhibitions. Political and social essays are frequent. The magazine is headquartered in Bloomsbury, London.[2]

Wilmers took over as editor in 1992 and remained as editor for almost 30 years.[6] She was succeeded by Jean McNicol and Alice Spawls in 2021.[6] Average circulation per issue for 2018 was 75,700.[3]

In January 2010, The Times wrote that the London Review was £27M in debt to the Wilmers' family trust, although the trust had "no intention of the lender seeking repayment of the loan in the near future".[7]

The London Review Bookshop opened in Bloomsbury in May 2003, and the Cake Shop next door in November 2007. The bookshop is used as a venue for author presentations and discussions.[3]

In 2011, when Pankaj Mishra criticised Niall Ferguson's book Civilisation: The West and the Rest in the LRB, Ferguson threatened to sue for libel.[8][9]

In 2023, Hebrew Writers Association in Israel openly published a protest response to the letter of support for Gaza that was published in the journal, and called writers and artists around the world to support the freeing of the kidnapped.[10]

In January 2024, A Hitch in Time: Reflections Ready for Reconsideration, an anthology of Christopher Hitchens's writings between 1983 and 2002 for The London Review of Books, was published.[11]


Contributors have included:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dugdale, John (20 February 2013). "Hilary Mantel: not the first LRB controversy". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Day, Elizabeth (9 March 2014). "Is the LRB the best magazine in the world?". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  3. ^ a b c "About the LRB".
  4. ^ Grimes, William (20 June 2011). "A. Whitney Ellsworth, First Publisher of New York Review, Dies at 75". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
  5. ^ Bennett, Alan, July 1996, in the Foreword to Jane Hindle (editor), London Review of Books: An Anthology, Verso, 1996. ISBN 1-85984-860-5: "The LRB has maintained a consistently radical stance on politics and social affairs."
  6. ^ a b Flood, Alison (29 January 2021). "London Review of Books editor Mary-Kay Wilmers steps down after 30 years". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
  7. ^ Brooks, Richard (24 January 2010). "London Review of Books £27m in the red – but it isn't counting". The Times. Archived from the original on 26 February 2020. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  8. ^ Harris, Paul (4 May 2013). "Niall Ferguson apologises for anti-gay remarks towards John Maynard Keynes". The Observer. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  9. ^ Mishra, Pankaj (3 November 2011). "Watch this man". London Review of Books. 33 (21). Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  10. ^ "Israeli writers condemn London Review of Books for condemning Israel". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. 2 November 2023. Retrieved 28 May 2024.
  11. ^ Gardner, Dwight (1 January 2024). "Want to Feel, Intellectually, Like Someone Is Rotating Your Tires? - This bracing anthology of Christopher Hitchens's work for The London Review of Books is just the ticket. (updated 17 January 2024)". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 1 January 2024. Retrieved 4 February 2024.

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