Susannah Clapp

Susannah Clapp was an editor at the LRB from its founding in 1979 until 1992. She has been the Observer’s theatre critic since 1997 and has written books on Bruce Chatwin and Angela Carter.

On Pockets

Susannah Clapp, 25 April 2024

When I complain​ it is sexist, the men on the door think I am having a laugh. Every week before being allowed into a theatre I have to prove I’m not dangerous by opening my bag for inspection. Meanwhile my male companion is invariably waved through – though that bulge in his pocket could be a knife.

Thanks to Hannah Carlson, I now regard this ritual as part of a widespread garment...

At the Pompidou: On Posy Simmonds

Susannah Clapp, 7 March 2024

Two things​ you will see in Paris but not in London: the word ‘culture’ on a banner at a demo, and a major exhibition by an English artist and writer who has for half a century made the Brits roll their eyes at themselves. The events are linked by the partly British-designed Pompidou Centre. In October, staff went on strike, seeking assurance about their jobs when the building...

On Yevonde

Susannah Clapp, 14 December 2023

When​ Yevonde made the new case for colour in photography, she also made the case for women behind the camera, controlling the views. ‘Photography without women would be a sorry business,’ she wrote. Who better to advance the art and push colour into a black and white world than those who wore red lipstick and scarlet nail polish?

Born Yevonde Philone Cumbers in 1893 (John...

So Liquidly: ‘Small Things like These’

Susannah Clapp, 8 September 2022

This year​ Claire Keegan, long esteemed, became fêted. Small Things like These has just won the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction and been longlisted for the Booker. Foster, published in 2010, has been filmed as The Quiet Girl. I shall not see it, at least not for a while; the words on the page are lodged in my head. Keegan’s fiction makes most novels look too fancy; her short...

Splashed with Stars: In Stoppardian Fashion

Susannah Clapp, 16 December 2021

Tom Stoppard wrote​ Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead while listening to ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ and ‘Like a Rolling Stone’. He would like to have written Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen. Threaded into each of his plays is a coded tribute: an MP in Dirty Linen, a clerk in The Invention of Love and two characters in Leopoldstadt are all called...

Hairy Fairies: Angela Carter

Rosemary Hill, 10 May 2012

Angela Carter didn’t enjoy much of what she called ‘the pleasantest but most evanescent kind of fame’.

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The Best Barnet

Jeremy Harding, 20 February 1997

Susannah Clapp’s memoir of Bruce Chatwin has little in the way of hard-going and nothing of the comprehensive record that bloats a literary biography. It makes no claims about the relation...

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