LoveReading

Becoming a member of the LoveReading community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…

Find out more

Philip Hensher - Author

About the Author

Philip Hensher's novels include Kitchen Venom, which won the Somerset Maugham Award, Other Lulus and The Mulberry Empire, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the WH Smith 'People's Choice' Award and highlighted by no fewer than twelve reviewers as their 'book of the year'. Chosen by Granta to appear on their prestigious, once-a-decade list of the twenty best young British novelists, Philip Hensher is also a columnist for the Independent and chief book reviewer for the Spectator. His most recent novel, The Northern Clemency was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008. He lives in South London.

 

Author photo © Simon James

Featured books by Philip Hensher

The Penguin Book of the British Short Story: II From P.G. Wodehouse to Zadie Smith

The Penguin Book of the British Short Story: II From P.G. Wodehouse to Zadie Smith

Author: Philip Hensher Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/11/2015

Hilarious, exuberant, subtle, tender, brutal, spectacular, and above all unexpected: these two extraordinary volumes contain the limitless possibilities of the British short story. This is the first anthology capacious enough to celebrate the full diversity and energy of its writers, subjects and tones.

The Emperor Waltz

The Emperor Waltz

Author: Philip Hensher Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/05/2015

The most ambitious and daring novel novel yet from Booker Prize-shortlisted Philip Hensher. 'A novel that's almost fizzy to the touch ...A performance of extraordinary flair and majesty from a writer who seems capable of anything' Guardian 'The Emperor Waltz' is a single novel with three narrative strands: fourth-century Rome, 1920s Germany, and 1980s London. In each place, a small coterie is closely connected and separated from the larger world. In each story, the larger world regards the small coterie and its passionately-held beliefs and secrets with suspicion and hostility. It is the story of eccentricity, its struggle, its triumph, its influence - but also its defeat.

ebook of the month
The Emperor Waltz

The Emperor Waltz

Author: Philip Hensher Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/07/2014

The new novel from Booker Prize-shortlisted Philip Hensher - his most ambitious and daring novel yet. In this astonishing novel, various narrative strands are drawn together into a compelling symphonic whole. In a third-century desert settlement on the fringes of the Roman Empire, a new wife becomes fascinated by a cult being persecuted by the Emperor Diocletian. In 1922, Christian, a young artist, travels to Weimar to begin his studies at the Bauhaus, the avant-garde confronting conservative elements around it. With postwar Germany in turmoil, while the Bauhaus attempt to explore radical ways of thinking and living, Christian finds that love will change him forever. And in 1970s London Duncan uses his inheritance to establish the country's first gay bookshop, whatever the neighbours think and despite persecution from the police. Delving deep into the human spirit to explore connections between love, sanctity, commitment and virtue, Philip Hensher takes as his subject small groups of men and women, tightly bound together, trying to change the world through the example of their lives. 'The Emperor Waltz' is an absorbing echo-chamber of a novel, innovative and compelling, that explores what it means for us to belong to each other.

ebook of the month
Scenes from Early Life

Scenes from Early Life

Author: Philip Hensher Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/01/2013

I was a baby during the war. We stayed inside for months. All my aunts took turns in feeding me. I couldn't be heard to cry. You see, there were soldiers in the streets. They would have known what a crying baby meant. So I had to be kept silent. No, not everyone came out of the war alive. One family's life, and a nation - Bangladesh - are uniquely created through conversation, sacrifice, songs, bonds, blood, bravery and jokes.

ebook of the month

Other books by Philip Hensher

king of the badgers

king of the badgers

Author: Philip Hensher Format: eBook Release Date: 31/03/2011

After the success of The Northern Clemency, shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize, Philip Hensher brings us another slice of contemporary life, this time the peaceful civility and spiralling paranoia of a small English town. After the success of The Mulberry Empire and The Northern Clemency, which was short-listed for the 2008 Man Booker Prize, Philip Hensher brings us the peaceful civility and spiralling paranoia of the small English town of Handsmouth. Usually a quiet and undisturbed place situated on an estuary, Handsmouth becomes the centre of national attention when an eight-year-old girl vanishes. The town fills with journalists and television crews, who latch onto the public's fearful suspicions that the missing girl, the daughter of one of the town's working-class families, was abducted. This tragic event serves to expose the range of segregated existences in the town, as spectrums of class, wealth and lifestyle are blurred in the investigation. Behind Handsmouth's closed doors and pastoral facade the extraordinary individual lives of the community are exposed. The undisclosed passions of a quiet international aid worker are set against his wife, a woman whose astonishing aptitude for intellectual pursuits, such as piano-playing and elaborate cooking, makes her seem a paragon of virtue to the outside world. A recently-widowed old woman tells a story that details her late discovery of sexual gratification. And the Bears - middle-aged, fat, hairy gay men, given to promiscuity and some drug abuse - have a party. As the search for the missing girl elevates, the case enables a self-appointed authority figure to present the case for increased surveillance, and, as old notions of privacy begin to crack, private lives seep into the public well of knowledge. Handsmouth is a powerful study of the vital importance of individuality, the increasingly intrusive hand of political powers and the unyielding strength of Nature against the worst excesses of human behaviour.

The Northern Clemency

The Northern Clemency

Author: Philip Hensher Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/04/2009

SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2008. An epic chronicle of the last twenty years of British life from the Booker shortlisted and Granta Best of Young British novelist, Philip Hensher. Beginning in 1974 and ending with the fading of Thatcher's government in 1996, `The Northern Clemency' is Philip Hensher's epic portrait of an entire era, a novel concerned with the lives of ordinary people and history on the move. Set in Sheffield, it charts the relationship between two families: Malcolm and Katherine Glover and their three children; and their neighbours, the Sellers family, newly arrived from London so that Bernie can pursue his job with the Electricity Board. The day the Sellers move in there is a crisis across the road: Malcolm Glover has left home, convinced his wife is having an affair. The consequences of this rupture will spread throughout the lives of both couples and their children, in particular ten-year-old Tim Glover, who never quite recovers from a moment of his mother's public cruelty and the amused taunting of fifteen-year-old Sandra Sellers, childhood crises that will come to a head twenty years later. In the background, England is changing: from a manufacturing- and industrial-based economy into a new world of shops, restaurants and service industries, a shift particularly marked in the North with the miners' strike of 1984, which has a dramatic impact on both families. Inspired by the expansive scale and webs of relationships of the great nineteenth-century Russian novels, `The Northern Clemency' shows Philip Hensher to be one of our greatest chroniclers of English life.

Pleasured

Pleasured

Author: Philip Hensher Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/07/2004

Perhaps the best novel yet about the collapse of the Berlin Wall, `at once cinematic, intimate and epic' (The Times) - from Granta Best of British novelist Philip Hensher, author of the bestselling The Mulberry Empire. 'Pleasured begins on New Year's Eve, 1988, when a car breaks down on a road connecting West Germany and West Berlin. Inside the car are an unlikely trio - Peter Picker, an Englishman, and the two strangers to whom he is giving a lift, a student who calls herself Daphne and Friedrich Kaiser. The novel tracks their intertwined fates in the year that follows. It is, of course, no ordinary year, and it is not only the Berlin Wall which has collapsed by its end... Distinctive and consistently appealing, Philip Hensher's novels are full of mysteries to be uncovered, lies to collapse, and secrets to be dramatically revealed.' Guardian

The Mulberry Empire

The Mulberry Empire

Author: Philip Hensher Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/02/2003

The bestselling novel from the Man Booker Prize shortlisted author of The Northern Clemency and King of the Badgers. `The Mulberry Empire' recounts an episode in the Great Game in central Asia - the courtship, betrayal and invasion of Afghanistan in the 1830s by the emissaries of Her Majesty's Empire, which is followed by the bloody and summary expulsion of the British from Kabul following an Afghani insurrection. At its heart the encounter between West and East, as embodied in the likeable, complex relationship between Alexander Burnes, leader of the initial British expeditionary party, and the wily, cultured Afghani ruler, the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan. For those who enjoyed William Dalrymple's `Return of a King', `The Mulberry Empire' is a must-read.