Arts and Books

Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, the arts

Christina is a regular reviewer of non-fiction and fiction for The Sunday Times. She has been reviewing books for the national press, and in literary magazines, for more than 25 years. For three years, she did a monthly “first novels” slot in The Observer, reviewing more than 60 novels a year.

She has also reviewed fiction and non-fiction in The IndependentThe New Statesman, the TLS, The Independent on Sunday, the Guardian, the Spectator and the Literary Review. She opened more jiffy bags in her four years as deputy literary editor of The Independent than she ever wants to open again.

She has judged quite a few literary prizes, including the British Book Awards (the "Nibbies") 2022, the Whitbread (now the Costa) Prize, the Forward Poetry prizes, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial prize, and the Northern Rock awards, in the days when Northern Rock had money to throw around.

She has been on the arts advisory group of the RSA, and has done advisory work for NESTA, the Society of Authors and the Arts Council. She has programmed and presented hundreds of literary events at festivals around the country, but now prefers to take part in events where you don’t have to read too many books.

She has contributed to The Cambridge Guide to Women’s Writing in EnglishThe Forward Prize Anthology, Creative Writing in Healthcare and Body of Essays,published by Profile Books and the Wellcome collection in November 2018.

She is the author of  The Art of Not Falling Apart and Outside, the Sky is Blue.

There Is No Blue by Martha Baillie — my sister and her schizophrenia

Benjamin Zephaniah: a prophet who will never grow old

A Death in Malta by Paul Caruana Galizia review — a son’s testament

Sparks by Ian Johnson review: China's underground historians

Revolting Women by Lucy Ryan review: the middle-aged fight back

Ootlin by Jenni Fagan review: my childhood in care

Brotherless Night by VV Ganeshananthan review — a searing story of war

One Last Thing by Wendy Mitchell review: my long battle with dementia

On Women by Susan Sontag review — the contrary feminist

Hermit by Jade Angeles Fitton review — my island life, with no heating

Hadley Freeman: Anorexia, and the price I paid in search of perfection

Are you a ‘sensitive' person? It could be your superpower

Darling by India Knight: a 21st-century Nancy Mitford

My Life in Words by Malorie Blackman: the amazing rise of the Noughts & Crosses author

Playing Under the Piano: from Downton to Darkest Peru by Hugh Bonneville review

Abominations by Lionel Shriver: the libertarian wild-child lets rip

Hagitude by Sharon Blackie review: busting the menopause myth

Without Warning and Only Sometimes: Kit de Waal’s most unusual childhood

Forgiveness by Marina Cantacuzino: why did these parents forgive their daughter’s killer?

Repackaging Christianity: how the Alpha course changed the Church of England

A Fortunate Woman - Polly Morland's moving account of life as a rural MP

Back in the Day by Melvyn Bragg - from grime to In Our Time

Lost & Found by Kathryn Schulz review — a beautiful book about grief and loss

The Meat Paradox by Rob Percival review — should we all go vegetarian?

Drawing the Line by Erich Hatala Matthes review — can we still enjoy Woody Allen?

The Gift of a Radio by Justin Webb review — the Radio 4 presenter’s childhood memoir

Are men toxic? Three books address what it is to be a man today 

Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival and Hope in New York City by Andrea Elliott review — a classic to rank with Orwell

Beyond Belief by Elle Hardy review — how Pentecostalism is sweeping the globe

The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes by Zoë Playdon review — the remarkable story of the lord and a secret transgender test case

Growing Up: Sex in the Sixties by Peter Doggett review — a shocking exposé of the era of sexual liberation

The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye and Trans by Helen Joyce review — two radical perspectives

The Story of Work and The Man Who Mistook His Job for His Life review – pride in a job well done

The Right to Sex by Amia Srinivasan review — when did intimacy become such a minefield?

Perversion of Justice by Julie K Brown review — bringing down Jeffrey Epstein

Fallen Idols by Alex von Tunzelmann review — statues we’ve pulled down

The Storm Is Upon Us by Mike Rothschild, review — QAnon uncovered

(M)otherhood by Pragya Agarwal review – on the choices of being a woman

The Premonition by Michael Lewis, review — a damning picture of America’s Covid response

Material Girls by Kathleen Stock, review — a controversial look at transgender issues

Failures of State by Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott, review - was Boris Johnson to blame for the Covid shambles?

Beyond Order by Jordan Peterson, review - a follow-up to 12 Rules for Life

The Inevitable by Katie Engelhart, review - should we have the right to die?

Breathtaking by Rachel Clarke, review on the Covid frontline

All the Young Men by Ruth Coker Burks, review - the lonely heroine of Aids

Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier review - the risks of transgender activism

I Hate Men by Pauline Harmange, review - the French woman who advocates misandry

The Art of Fairness by David Bodanis, review - nice guys can make it to the top, too

Man Down by Matt Rudd - why are men unhappy?

More Than a Woman by Caitlin Moran - her follow-up to How to Be a Woman

English Pastoral by James Rebanks - the superb sequel to The Shepherd's Life

Greed is Dead by Paul Collier and John Kay review - it's time to end the selfishness

Negative Capability: A Diary of Surviving by Michele Roberts

Sex Matters: How Male-Centric Medicine Endangers Women's Health and What We Can Do About It - by Dr Alyson J McGregor review

Together: Loneliness, Health and What Happens When We Find Connection by Vivek H Murthy review

Female Husbands: A Trans History by Jen Manion review

This Too Shall Pass by Julia Samuel review - the author of Grief Works on dealing with change

Difficult Women - A History of Feminism in 11 Fights by Helen Lewis review - picking fights

Dear Life by Rachel Clarke review - the palliative care doctor's story

Unfollow: A Journey from Hatred to Hope, Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper review

Know My Name by Chanel Miller review - Emily Doe, Brock Turner and the rape case that changed the law

Girl by Edna O'Brien - a novelist at the top of her game

Becoming Beauvoir by Kate Kirkpatrick review - revealing her dark side

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo review - lays bare the nature of sexual power

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro review - a terrible family secret

The Apology by Eve Ensler review - the Vagina Monologues' author on her abusive father

Extra Time: 10 Lessons for an Ageing World by Camilla Cavendish

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez

When the Dogs Don't Bark: a forensic scientist's search for truth by Angela Gallop 

Threads of life: A history of the world through the eye of a needle by Clare Hunter - the surprising history of sewing.

Happy Ever After: Escaping the Myth of the Perfect Life by Paul Dolan — how to find happiness

Gene Eating: The Science of Obesity and the Truth About Diets by Giles Yeo — it is hard to imagine a more likeable guide

The Man Who Wasn’t There: A Life of Ernest Hemingway by Richard Bradford — the enigma of a cruel, duplicitous bigot

Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women and Lust and Infidelity Is Untrue by Wednesday Martin — what women really want

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen — the 14th novel from the million-selling ‘JK Rowling of Japan’

Face to Face: True Stories of Life, Death and Transformation from My Career as a Facial Surgeon by Professor Jim McCaul — immensely moving case studies

Calypso by David Sedaris — stories from a master humorist

The Incurable Romantic: And Other Unsettling Revelations by Frank Tallis — extraordinary tales of passion gone wrong

Girl with Dove: A Life Built by Books by Sally Bayley — the girl saved by Miss Marple

Free Woman: Life, Liberation and Doris Lessing by Lara Feigel

With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix

A Life of My Own by Claire Tomalin

The Incest Diary by Anon

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Priestdaddy: A Memoir by Patricia Lockwood

South of Forgiveness by Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger

The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography by Edmund Gordon

Nujeen: One Girl’s Incredible Journey from War-torn Syria in a Wheelchair by Nujeen Mustafa with Christina Lamb

The Allegations by Mark Lawson

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O'Farrell

Now & Again by Charlotte Rogan

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Maestra by LS Hilton

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle

Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie

Pop Art: A Colourful History by Alastair Sooke

Grey by EL James

War of the Encyclopaedists by Christopher Robinson and Gavin Kovite

The Green Road by Anne Enright

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney

The Time In Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope by Nancy Tucker

The Daughterhood: The Good, the Bad and the Guilty of Mother-Daughter Relationships by Natasha Fennell and Roisin Ingle

The book that changed my life: The Bible

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

Christina Patterson: The Bible

Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper

Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz by Goran Rosenberg

Us by David Nicholls

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

The Good News Bible taught me the power of words, but also stole my youth

Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami trans Philip Gabriel

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

In the Approaches by Nicola Barker

Quiet Dell by Jayne Anne Phillips

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt

Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris by Edmund White

Balancing Act by Joanna Trollope

The Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin

Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas

The Dogs of Littlefield by Suzanne Berne

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

The Poets' Daughters: Dora Wordsworth and Sara Coleridge

The Girl Who Loved Camellias: The Life and Legend of Marie Duplessis

Clicking through to the last page

The Art of Joy by Goliarda Sapienza trans Anne Milano Appel

Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

Why it’s time for galleries to dump the jargon

How easy is it to write confessional poetry?

Films that finally acknowledge old age

Valentino Garavani: the man who turned fashion into an art form

Robert Mckee: a day with Mr Movie

Lenny Hamilton: I’ll never forget when Ronnie Kray burnt me with pokers

Water, water all around, but does it make you think?

Is literature turning colour blind?

Happy marriage of poetry and technology

Jail Caesar: a new film about the Roman leader features a supporting cast of prisoners

How the great writers published themselves

Review of Among the Hoods by Harriet Sergeant

Can we have what she had? Nora Ephron’s legacy

A queen, her lover and John Locke

Review of Missing Out by Adam Phillips

Persian poetry power: writers are bringing the spirit of Iran’s verse to Britain