Jamie Lloyd: the theatre director tearing up the playbook

The director Jamie Lloyd’s ascent to the top of British theatre has been so fast he’s sometimes called “Jammy Lloyd”.

An advocate of affordable theatre for diverse audiences, he’s been described by The Evening Standard as ‘redefining West End theatre.’ At 38, he’s now set himself the challenge of directing all of Harold Pinter’s shorter plays in a single season. He’s cast Danny Dyer, Martin Freeman, Tom Hiddleston, and he coaxed Lee Evans out of retirement. We ask him how. And why?


Meeting Elizabeth Jane Howard

I had read Slipstream (2002), the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard’s brilliant – and apparently candid – memoir by the time I interviewed her in November 2013. It was less than two months before she died. I wondered what else there was to ask her: she had laid bare her disastrous first marriage to Peter Scott, son of the Antarctic explorer; her affair with Cecil Day-Lewis, whilst he was married to one of her closest friends; her acrimonious divorce from her third husband, fellow writer Kingsley Amis, and so much more.


Kate Murray-Browne: Buyer Beware

Kate Murray-Browne’s brilliantly suspenseful first novel The Upstairs Room has been described as a ‘property horror story’. Eleanor and Richard, an editor and lawyer respectively, move into a large four-bedroom house in East London with their two small daughters. The house is at the upper limit of what they can afford and Eleanor feels uneasy about it from the start. They take in a lodger, in the form of 27-year-old Zoe, the temp receptionist from Richard’s office, to help pay for the house, but Eleanor soon begins to feel the house is making her ill. She feels it is “rejecting her, like an unwelcome transplant.” 


Hari Kunzru: Between the Grooves

It’s Hari Kunzru’s first press trip to London for a few years, this time to discuss his fifth novel, White Tears. It’s that rare beast: a novel of ideas that is also a transfixing thriller. The morning after he arrives from New York, we meet in a room just off the lobby of his hotel to discuss the book. I was interested in why he wanted to write such an overtly political novel, which confronts issues of race and representation head on. 


Andrew O’Hagan: Friendly fire

I have tea with Andrew O’Hagan one morning at his house in Primrose Hill. We start talking about Seamus Heaney, a great friend of O’Hagan’s who died two years ago. I ask if he misses Heaney.

“Oh, every day. He had this brilliant tendency to take you under his wing, to be concerned about you in a very local way. He didn’t make friends with writers in order to pay attention to their reputations, or read reviews of their books, or to figure them in some higher or lesser constellation. He was interested in you humanly: he was a good person to have around if you had a cold. 


Julie Myerson: Seeing the bad stuff

The Stopped Heart is Julie Myerson’s ninth novel (she has also written one novella and four works of non-fiction). It may just be her best book yet as it manages to be both a page-turning thriller and a serious exploration of how abuse works. If that sounds off-putting, it shouldn’t be – whilst her subject matter is child abduction and murder both now and in the Victorian era, she is at pains not to titillate her readers.