Last modified on 29 January 2015, at 20:36

London Review of Books

London Review of Books
Editor Mary-Kay Wilmers
Categories Literature, history, ideas[1]
Frequency 24 per year
Circulation 62,142
Publisher Nicholas Spice
First issue 1979
Country United Kingdom
Language English
ISSN 0260-9592

The London Review of Books (or LRB) is a British journal of literary and intellectual essays. Published fortnightly, it has the largest circulation[2] of any literary magazine in Europe and is considered the leading journal edited by a woman in the Western world.[3][4]


The LRB was founded in 1979, when publication of the Times Literary Supplement was suspended during the year-long lock-out at The Times.[3]

Its founding editors were Karl Miller, then professor of English at University College London, Mary-Kay Wilmers, formerly an editor at The Times Literary Supplement, and Susannah Clapp, a former editor at Jonathan Cape. For its first six months, it appeared as an insert in the New York Review of Books.[5] In May 1980, the London Review became an independent publication with an orientation described by Alan Bennett, a prominent contributor throughout the LRB's history, as "consistently radical".[6]

Unlike The Times Literary Supplement (TLS), the majority of the articles the LRB publishes (usually fifteen per issue) are long essays. Some articles in each issue are not based on books, while several short articles discuss film or exhibitions. Political and social essays are frequent.

Mary-Kay Wilmers took over as editor in 1992. Average circulation per issue for 2012 was 59,265.[3]

In January 2010, The Times claimed that the London Review of Books was £27m in debt to the Wilmers' family trust, although the trust had "no intention of the lender seeking repayment of the loan in the near future".[7]

In 2011, when Pankaj Mishra criticised Niall Ferguson's book Civilisation: The West and the Rest in the London Review of Books, Ferguson threatened to sue for libel.[8][9]


One notable feature of the LRB is its "lonely hearts" personal adverts. They are a long established part of British culture and have spawned two books and a Twitter account.[10]

The LRB bookshop opened in Bloomsbury in May 2003 and the immediately adjacent cakeshop (walk-through from the bookshop) opened in November 2007. The bookshop is frequently used as a venue for author presentations and discussions.[3]


Notable contributors have included:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Dugdale, John (20 February 2013). "Hilary Mantel: not the first LRB controversy". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d "About the LRB". 
  4. ^ Hindle, Jane. London Review of Books: An Anthology. 
  5. ^ Grimes, William (20 June 2011). "A. Whitney Ellsworth, First Publisher of New York Review, Dies at 75". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Bennett, Alan, July 1996, in the Foreword to Jane Hindle (editor) London Review of Books: An Anthology, Verso, 1996. ISBN 1-85984-860-5 "The LRB has maintained a consistently radical stance on politics and social affairs"
  7. ^ "The Times". 
  8. ^ Harris, Paul (4 May 2013). "Niall Ferguson apologises for anti-gay remarks towards John Maynard Keynes". The Observer. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Mishra, Pankaj (3 November 2011). "Watch this man". Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  10. ^ Lyall, Sarah (21 November 2006). "Book Lovers Seek Lovers, Buttered or Plain". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2006. 

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit