Robert McCrum

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John Robert McCrum (born 7 July 1953), is an English writer and editor.

The son of Michael William McCrum, Robert McCrum was educated at Sherborne School, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (MA) and the University of Pennsylvania as a Thouron Scholar and he was then editorial director at Faber & Faber from 1979 to 1989.[1] He writes regular reviews and is also co-author of The Story of English (McCrum, Robert, William Cran, and Robert MacNeil. New York: Elisabeth Sifton, 1986) and P. G. Wodehouse: A Life (McCrum, Robert, W. W. Norton & Company, 2004). His novel Suspicion was published in 1997.

He was formerly editor-in-chief at Faber & Faber from 1990 to 1996.[2]

He served as literary editor of The Observer for more than ten years. In May 2008 he was appointed Associate Editor of The Observer and was succeeded as literary editor by William Skidelsky.[3]

In 1995 McCrum suffered a massive stroke. The devastating experience and his recovery is chronicled in My Year Off: Recovering Life After a Stroke. He had only been married to Sarah Lyall, an American journalist, for two months and the book includes diary entries made by his wife. He is a patron of the UK charity Different Strokes, who provide information and support for younger stroke survivors.

Sarah Lyall, who writes for The New York Times, lived in London from 1995 to 2013 and was the newspaper's London correspondent for many years. She returned to New York with the couple's daughters in 2013; Lyall and McCrum have returned to a transatlantic relationship.[4]


  • "In the Secret State." New York: Simon and Schuster, 1980. (Fiction).
  • (With William Cran and Robert MacNeil) The Story of English. New York: Elisabeth Sifton, 1986.
  • "The Fabulous Englishman" UK : Hamish Hamilton Ltd., 1984. (Fiction).
  • Jubilee. New York: Knopf, 1994. ISBN 0-679-42987-5
  • Suspicion. New York: W.W. Norton, 1997. ISBN 0-393-04046-1
  • My Year Off: Recovering Life After a Stroke. New York: W.W. Norton, 1998. ISBN 0-393-04656-7 ISBN 978-0393046564
  • P. G. Wodehouse: A Life. New York: W.W. Norton, 2004. ISBN 978-0-393-05159-9
  • Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language. New York: W. W. Norton, 2010 ISBN 978-0-393-06255-7


  1. ^ Debrett's People of Today 2001
  2. ^ McCrum, Robert (2008-05-25). "Have blogs been good for books?". Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  3. ^ McCrum, Robert (2008-05-25). "A thriller in ten chapters". The Observer (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  4. ^ Susannah Butter and Sarah Lyall "'Sometimes I felt loud and gauche, like a guest who shows up at a memorial service wearing a Hawaiian shirt': the thoughts of a New York Times correspondent on leaving London", London Evening Standard, 23 August 2013