Philip Hensher

Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Exeter, Philip Hensher was among Granta 20 Best of Young British Novelists in 2003. The author of six novels, a collection of short stories and an opera libretto, he has won numerous prizes including the Somerset Maugham Award and the Stonewall Journalist of the Year. His 2008 novel, 'The Northern Clemency', was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Commonwealth Prize. A regular presence in the British media, alongside his Wednesday column for The Independent, he writes for The Spectator and Mail on Sunday.

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Philip Hensher: Rejecting Oxbridge isn't clever – it's a mistake

It is a great shame if brilliant young people think Oxford is just a posh place with impractical architecture

Philip Hensher: Genius is just a matter of taste

Hockney is a fascinating but quirky artist. Some will think his show is horrible

Philip Hensher: A warship in the Thames is taking security too far

Warships? Surface-to-air missiles? An army of 42,000? Wellington only needed 68,000 at Waterloo

Philip Hensher: Why didn't they steal those halfwits at St Pancras?

You can value the bronze in a Hepworth, but how are you going to price up the holes, the gap, the shining aura?

Philip Hensher: Google shows us who we really are. It's not pretty

Is this what every great liberation of information discovers: the base aspect of human nature triumphs?

Philip Hensher: Universities need cash – but not just anyone's

When an institution gains a gleaming new wing, we should ask what abasements have occurred

Philip Hensher: Bullying intrusion is now a routine experience

At some point, we must be prepared to take a risk rather than throw away civilised standards

Philip Hensher: The state wants to know what you're up to. But why do we let it?

What drives the spread of surveilliance is not a desire to diminish evil, but the desire to control

Philip Hensher: Shakespeare, salaries – and why inequality is not inevitable

How much does your neighbour earn?

Philip Hensher: Gaddafi's end was perfect theatre

Colonel Gaddafi was accustomed to appear in public wearing enough insignia on his chest to cover a dining table. Whatever else his medals were awarded for, it wasn't for bravery. Ceausescu went to his death before a firing squad singing the Internationale. Saddam Hussein died shouting: "Do you consider this bravery?" But Gaddafi seems to have died the death of a coward. He was found in an outflow pipe, cringing. He shouted: "Don't shoot, don't shoot", and, according to one freedom fighter, "What have I done to you?"

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