By Craig Brown

‘The most screamingly funny living writer’ Barry Humphries, Mail on Sunday

From the bestselling and award-winning author of Ma’am Darling and One Two Three Four, a selection of Craig Brown’s finest writing collected together for the first time.

What is James Bond’s middle name?

How does Jacob Rees-Mogg’s nanny set about cleaning him up in the morning?

When did Piers Morgan introduce his special guest Kim Jong-Un as “the straight-talking boy from North Korea who grew up to become a global superstar”?

All these important questions, and a great many more, are answered in Craig Brown’s Haywire.

Featuring handy household tips from Mary Berry (‘When eating a boiled egg be careful to remove the shell first, or it can be a little crunchy’) and historic admissions from Queen Elizabeth 1st to Oprah Winfrey concerning her mother’s beheading (‘Thank you for having the courage to share that with us’), Haywire presents a survival guide to the 21st century.

In one chapter, Brown writes about the influence of Blackpool on Sigmund Freud and Les Dawson. In another, he unearths the Historical Online Archive and discovers that the invention of the wheel in Mesopotamia in 4000 BC drew fierce criticism on social media. “My mate tried it, says it’s total rubbish” wrote Brian from Sumeria.

The acclaimed biographer of Princess Margaret and The Beatles delivers essays on such diverse figures as Ronald Searle, John Stonehouse, Bruce Springsteen, Richard Dawkins, Katie Price, Stanley Spencer, Harry and Meghan, Brian Epstein, Kenneth Williams, Ronald Reagan, Simon Dee and the Marx Brothers.

With the full battery of the humourist’s armoury – clerihews, tongue-twisters, whimsy, parody, farce, satire, social observation, nonsense – Brown skewers the passing fads and delusions of the contemporary world.

‘Our greatest living satirist’ Sunday Times

‘Exquisitely naughty and hilarious’ Guardian

‘Craig Brown’s humour will outlive his victims … his journalism is one of the few compensations for being British now’ Sunday Telegraph

Format: Hardcover
Release Date: 02 May 2023
Pages: 560
ISBN: 9780008557447

Craig Brown’s last book, One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time won the 2020 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. His previous book, Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret won the James Tait Black Prize for Biography and the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Literature, and was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in the US. His first article appeared in the New Statesman in 1978. Since then, he has written for many newspapers and magazines, including the Guardian, the Daily Mail, the New York Times and the Spectator. He has been writing the parodic celebrity diary for Private Eye for over thirty years. He lives in Aldeburgh, Suffolk with his wife Frances Welch; they have two children and a grandchild.

‘The most screamingly funny living writer’ Barry Humphries, Mail on Sunday

‘The greatest satirist since Max Beerbohm’ Elaine Showalter Guardian

‘Craig Brown's humour will outlive his victims. His journalism is one of the few compensations for being British now’ David Sexton, Sunday Telegraph

‘A genius … in every instance, the skill of the parodist dwarfs any achievement attributable to his subject’ Auberon Waugh, Daily Telegraph

‘He is the comic writer the rest of us admire from afar, and envy beyond the bounds of reason. How does he do it?’ Markus Berkmann, Spectator

‘Britain’s wittiest satirist’ The Times

‘[Craig Brown] has an acutely attuned comic ear, an unmatched eye for spotting the absurdities of human behaviour and a bloodhound-grade nose for sniffing out phoniness and pretensionMail On Sunday