The writing on the wall

A prehistoric literary hoax brought to light Times Literary Supplement, March 2023 Can there ever be enough poets? Evidently not, because more get invented all the time. In the eighteenth century alone, teenager Thomas Chatterton “discovered” the work of the fifteenth-century monk Thomas Rowley, while James MacPherson “translated” – to great acclaim – an epic […]

Prince Harry has broken the royals’ infantilising code of silence. It’s about time

By speaking out in his autobiography, Spare, Harry challenges a repressed institution that traduced his grief and demanded his mute compliance. New Statesman, January 2023 In extracts leaked from his autobiography, Spare, Prince Harry reminds his readers that when his mother was killed in a car crash he was in a different country and only […]

Settling Scores: The Private School Prime Minister Takes his Revenge

Author Richard Beard, who was sent to an English private school in the same year as Boris Johnson, explores why the politician’s time there explains his destructive approach to leading the country. Byline Times, December 2021 Before the English private education system turned him into ‘Boris’, Alexander Johnson attended the European School in Brussels. My […]

Why public schoolboys like me and Boris Johnson aren’t fit to run our country

Our elite schools foster emotional austerity and fierce clique loyalty. Here a privately educated writer of the prime minister’s generation reveals the lasting damage public schools do. Guardian, August 2021 I had a feeling I couldn’t immediately place. I wanted to go out but wasn’t allowed. Shelves were emptying at the nearest supermarket and instead […]

Book Review – The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness

Richard Beard, writer, author, novelist, Sad Little Men, The Day That Went Missing, Acts of the Assassins, Becoming Drusilla, Manly Pursuits, UK

At the age of fifteen, in 1980, at St Mary’s RC Grammar School in Blackburn, Graham Caveney was sexually abused by his headmaster, Father Kevin O’Neill. Caveney’s subtitled Memoir of an Adolescence starts with this fact, as how could it not? The trauma is ‘something that the survivor, the sufferer, carries within them; the wreckage […]