© Karen Robinson / The Guardian


Robert McCrum is a writer, editor and former publisher.

Robert McCrum is a well-known writer and journalist, a broadcaster on BBC Radio Four, and long-established Associate Editor of The Observer, as well as a distinguished veteran of the British book world, having served as Editor-in-Chief of Faber & Faber (1980-1995) and Literary Editor of The Observer (1996-2012).


At Faber & Faber, he edited writers as various as Milan Kundera, Lorrie Moore, Mario Vargas Llosa, Barbara Kingsolver, Marilynne Robinson, Harold Pinter, and Hanif Kureishi, as well as discovering the work of Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro, Booker Prize winner Peter Carey and American masters such as Paul Auster.

      At The Observer, he established himself as a newspaper critic to be reckoned with, a lively cultural commentator, and also as a highly entertaining interviewer of writers such as V.S. Naipaul, Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, Lorrie Moore, Clive James, Alan Bennett and Seamus Heaney.  

      In between these two remarkable careers, McCrum was dramatically unwell with a serious stroke, a life-changing experience he describes in the Picador Classic, My Year Off, his acclaimed memoir of 1995-1996. For Radio 4, he has recently completed three acclaimed series, “Shakespeare and the American Dream”, “The Life in My Head: From Stroke to Brain Attack”, and “America Rewritten”.      

      McCrum’s eagerly anticipated new book, Every Third Thought (Picador) was launched in August 2017. Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Andrew Marr said “McCrum's awe at the mystery of the human brain is matched by his deep understanding of the consolations of music and literature . . . As I closed it, I found myself encouraged and fortified”. For the novelist, Kate Mosse, it is “Thoughtful, subtle, elegantly clever and oddly joyous. Every Third Thought is beautiful.”

      As well as his contemporary work as a journalist, in 2005 McCrum also published a highly acclaimed and definitive life of P.G. Wodehouse, a biography described by John Le Carre as “The last word; the seminal work of reference. As the Master might say – ripping.”