Simon Garfield

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Simon Garfield (2009)

Simon Frank Garfield (born 19 March 1960[1]) is a British journalist and non-fiction author.


Garfield was born in London in 1960.[2] He was educated at the independent University College School in Hampstead, London, and the London School of Economics, where he was executive editor of The Beaver. He won the Guardian/NUS 'Student Journalist of the Year' award in 1981, and the same year he became a sub-editor at the Radio Times.[1] He wrote scripts for BBC radio documentaries in the early 1980s.[1] He also wrote for Time Out magazine, acting as editor from 1988 to 1989.[1] He has written for newspapers such as The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, and The Observer, and was named Mind Journalist of the Year in 2005.[1] He was among the clients of Pat Kavanagh at United Agents.

He is the author of several books including Expensive Habits: The Dark Side of the Industry, the Somerset Maugham Prize-winning The End of Innocence: Britain in the Time of AIDS, The Wrestling, The Nation's Favourite: The True Adventures of Radio 1, and Mauve.[2]

In 2010 his book Just My Type was published, exploring the history of typographic fonts.[3][4]

Garfield appeared on 25 February 2013 episode of The Colbert Report to discuss why he wrote On the Map.

Garfield's book To the Letter: A Curious History of Correspondence is the inspiration behind the charity event Letters Live.



  • Garfield, Simon (1986). Expensive habits: the dark side of the music industry. London: Faber.
  • Money for Nothing: Greed and Exploitation in the Music Industry (1986)
  • The End of Innocence: Britain in the Time of AIDS (1994)
  • The Nation's Favourite: The True Adventures of Radio One (1998) – (account of turmoil at BBC radio station)
  • Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World (2000) – (Victorian chemist William Perkin and his development of synthetic dyes), W. W. Norton & Company, ISBN 0-393-02005-3
  • The Last Journey of William Huskisson (2002) – (pioneering development of steam railways in Britain)
  • Our Hidden Lives: The Everyday Diaries of a Forgotten Britain (2004) – (interwoven threads from five diaries from post-World War II Britain)
  • We are at War: The Remarkable Diaries of Five Ordinary People (2005) – (interwoven accounts from five diaries from the period preceding World War II)
  • Private Battles: Our Intimate Diaries – How the War Almost Defeated Us (2006) – (interwoven accounts from four diaries of ordinary Britains living through World War II)
  • The Error World: An Affair With Stamps (2008) – (memoir of the author's stamp collecting obsession)
  • The Wrestling – (British wrestling and its eccentric performers and fans)
  • Exposure: The Unusual Life and Violent Death of Bob Carlos Clarke (2009) – (Irish photographer and suicide)
  • Mini: The True and Secret History of the Making of a Motor Car (2009)
  • Just My Type: A Book About Fonts (Profile Books Ltd, 2010)
  • On the Map: Why the World Looks the Way it Does (Profile Books Ltd, 2012)
  • To the Letter: A Curious History of Correspondence – A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing (Canongate, 2013)[5]
  • (as editor) A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt. (Canongate, 2015)
  • Timekeepers: How The World Became Obsessed With Time (Canongate, 2016)
  • In Miniature: How Small Things Illuminate The World (Canongate, 2018)
  • Dog's Best Friend : A Brief History of an Unbreakable Bond (Profile, 2021)

Critical studies, reviews and biography[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Simon Garfield, Esq", Debrett's, retrieved 6 July 2011
  2. ^ a b "Simon Garfield", Faber & Faber, retrieved 6 July 2011
  3. ^ Gompertz, Will (2010) "Gomp/arts: Simon Garfield: A man of letters", BBC, 18 October 2010, retrieved 6 July 2011
  4. ^ Glancey, Jonathan (2010) "Just My Type by Simon Garfield and Manuale Tipographico by Giambattista Bodoni – review", The Guardian, 4 December 2010, retrieved 6 July 2011
  5. ^ Garfield, Simon (25 October 2013). "Simon Garfield: in praise of the letter". Retrieved 21 October 2020 – via
  6. ^ Smithsonian often changes the title of a print article when it is published online. This article is titled "The history of mapmaking, Jared Diamond’s latest and more recent books reviewed" online.

External links[edit]