Philip Hoare

Philip Hoare is a journalist and author of non-fiction books. He has been fascinated by cetaceans from an early age and his book Leviathan (2008) won the 2009 Samuel Johnson Prize.

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High spirits: Anna Chancellor and Toby Stephens in 'Private Lives' now running at the Gielgud Theatre

Private Lives: How Noël Coward's drama about champagne-fuelled hedonists retains its cocktail power

As the play returns to the West End, Coward's biographer Philip Hoare looks at how the drama chimes with modern-day audiences

Book of a lifetime: The Rings of Saturn, By W G Sebald

In the spring of 2001, I received a postcard in the mail. On the front was Poussin's L'Orage ("The Storm"). On the back, written in an elegant script, was a note of appreciation for a book I'd just published, called Spike Island. It was signed "W.G. (Max) Sebald".

Clarke: whales had begun to annoy him, he said, because they ate the other animals he studied

Professor Malcolm Clarke: Acclaimed authority on the
sperm whale and giant squid

Malcolm Clarke was an international expert on two animals which remain among the most mysterious on the planet: the sperm whale and the giant squid. He spent most of his adult life pursuing these creatures, from the whaling grounds of the Antarctic,to the deep waters off the Azores – the remote archipelago where he lived latterly, within daily sight of his subjects.

In danger: the red squirrel

Every creature's needless death diminishes us all

A 60 per cent decline in our national species should alarm us, yet few of us act. But to mind more about animals would reflect well on society

Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.

The Boston bombing has shown how America's old certainties are under attack

America used to have a childlike belief in the power of freedom, and the power of firearms to defend that freedom

Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.

The Boston bombing has shown how America's old certainties are under attack

America used to have a childlike belief in the power of freedom, and the power of firearms to defend that freedom

Punishment and poverty of imagination

It is hard to conceive the effect of the deprivation of freedom and human dignity

My wild swimming ways and why it is the season to get back in touch with nature

Some call open-air swimmers like the Devon fundraisers foolhardy, but isn't there something heroic in this desire to reconnect with what we've lost?

Weird science: Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's Monster

Frankenstein's monster: Why gothic is more popular than ever

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein still stokes our fear of apocalypse, bad science and corruption. As a new documentary looks at its cultural legacy, Philip Hoare explains why gothic remains a perennial theme

Symbol of life: Witnessing a whale surface is a physical rebuke to humans for the damage they are inflicting on the oceans

The whale - so special, and scarcely understood

What is it about these stupendous, gregarious yet mysterious creatures that creates such an ambivalent bond with humankind?

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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick