John Self

John Self is a book critic and lead fiction reviewer for The Critic. He lives in Belfast. @John_Self

We need a system where books that publishers really love, where it’s not mere puff, get a special sticker on the front, says John Self

John Self says that while writing has always been seen as a vocation, the characters many authors care most about are the ones printed on their royalty statements

Fiction works on the understanding that none of it really happened; we agree to believe it anyway, says John Self

Put down the pandemic novels: Here’s my favourite fiction of 2020

What we have is pure storytelling delight, a page-turner that works forwards and backwards as the reader fills in the gaps

Contrasting works from a veteran master of invention and two newer faces who blur fact and fiction

If Martin Amis isn’t entertaining you on every page, then what’s the point of him?

Unlike Douglas Murray, John Self thinks the satirical novel isn’t dead

John Self examines three varied, emotionally satisfying novels that together come in at less than the length of a single Mantel

John Self reviews Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell, The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams, and The End of Me by Alfred Hayes