Laura Freeman

London by Night: In the Footsteps of Dickens

The city’s great chronicler hit the streets to cure his insomnia. His writing cast a spell on me and now I go for nocturnal walks of my own

A London Fairytale

Characterisation and a sense of place have been sacrificed for a magical realist atmosphere in Peter Ackroyd’s latest novel, Three Brothers

Bookish Brummies

Finally, Birmingham has the library it deserves, and its predecessor will be thankfully turned to rubble

Laureate of the Trenches

David Jones’s service at the front inspired an epic poem about World War I, “In Parenthesis”. Long neglected, it is ripe for rediscovery

They Were the Future of the Tory Party, Once

We may mock the Young Conservatives of the Fifties but they were unswervingly loyal and a formidable electoral force

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"