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Thomas W. Hodgkinson is the author of:


How To Be Cool: The 150 Essential Idols, Ideals and Other Cool S***

They say cool can’t be taught. You either have it or you don’t. 

Yet the idea behind this sleek compendium of cool information is that, contrary to popular opinion, anyone can increase their coolness by studying the masters and the methods of the past. Consider the Nine Defining Qualities of Cool. Measure your Coolness Quotient by taking the CQ Test (sample it here). And grapple with an assortment of cool facts, including the disturbing original meaning of the word "geek", the line Orson Welles came out with when he crossed paths with The Fonz, and what the sinister occultist Paschal Beverly Randolph described as the optimal conditions for "sex magic".

"This is a cool book."

(P.J. O'Rourke)

"I began smoking by age 6, owned my first Mercedes convertible at 12 and since the age of 16 have spoken only to confirm my name in court, order rib-rattlingly strong cocktails and seduce aloof, erotically-charged women. Le cool, c'est moi. But even I found myself scribbling mental notes on this finely-judged socio-cultural baedeker. Reading this, in the company of a Sobranie gold and a Japanese whiskey, is the coolest thing to be doing this Christmas."

(Amazon Customer)

You can buy it here. You can read the TLS review here.


Memoirs of a Stalker

A horror novel published by Silvertail Books.

When Jack Raphael first sneaks into the home of his unspeakably beautiful ex-girlfriend, Mills, he doesn't plan on staying there for months. It's just that one thing leads to another. As each day blends or bleeds into the next, our obsessive hero (and there is something heroic about his level of commitment) develops ingenious ways to pass undetected. He skulks in shadows; he lurks in cupboards. He becomes the house. And all he wants is to be near her. Or at least, that's all he wants at first.

You can read the Sunday Times review here and the Spectator review here. You can buy it here.

The method writers project

What do Homer, Shakespeare and Dickens have in common? They are all authors who also performed their works. This original link – the unity of writer and performer as two sides of the same creative coin — is one that has been lost in the modern era. It is this that the Method Writers project aims to restore.


Hardly a week goes by without a story appearing in the press about the extremes some fanatical actor has gone to in preparation for their latest role, whether it’s Leonardo DiCaprio consuming a hunk of raw bison liver on the set of the survival epic The Revenant, or Jared Leto playing twisted pranks on his co-stars while filming Suicide Squad. Clearly, some of these anecdotes carry the whiff of the marketing department. Yet for decades now we’ve been accustomed to the idea of serious actors employing an immersive method, as just one strand of teaching among many developed in New York Method Acting schools by the likes of Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler. The question is: if it works for actors, why don't writers try a similar approach?

With this in mind, the Method Writers project adapts the techniques of Method Acting and applies them to the craft of writing. The aim is to help writers push through a creative block, to give a spur to those putting off a project, and to offer an adrenaline shot of true feeling to any work, which will help it to stand out from the crowd. There’s an old story of how Marlon Brando, to prepare for playing a paraplegic in his first Hollywood movie, The Men, spent weeks wheelchair-bound in the company of authentic paraplegics. One day, they were in a bar when a Christian evangelist came in and declared that, if they believed in God, they would be cured. Brando promptly leapt up from his wheelchair with a cry of “Hallelujah!" and began to dance a jig.

We won’t force you to dance a jig, but we do hope to get you leaping out of your chair.


The Method Writers are offering one-day courses in central London at a cost of £95.

The informal classes are taken either one-on-one or in small groups. All performance elements are voluntary. The only request is that the student should be willing to summarise a work in progress or proposed project in advance, so the class can be tailored to it. As an added incentive, the Method Writers are recruiting candidates for a writing week in Greece this autumn. More details posted here as available. 

Click here to see a lesson plan. To book a class, contact Thomas W. Hodgkinson by clicking here

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Thomas W. Hodgkinson is the author of the novel Memoirs of a Stalker and two works of non-fiction. He has spoken about the ways he uses Method in his writing on Radio 4, and written on the subject here.


Alexander Fiske-Harrison is the author of Into the Arena and the editor of Fiesta. As well as being a confirmed Method writer, he has trained as an actor at the Stella Adler Conservatory in New York.


Thomas Fink, a co-founder and consultant of the Method Writers project, is the author of the bestselling Man's Book. He also founded the London Institute for Mathematical Sciences. 


theatre (the sunday times)

The last days of Patricia Highsmith are a lethal authorial anxiety dream. (Switzerland)

Not theatre. Charades with strangers. (Lamplighters)

A reverse-Genesis allegory that still charms today. (The Secret Garden)

If you haven't seen Hamilton, you're f***ed. (Spamilton)

It shines a torch into the eyeball of our race-based assumptions. (End of the Pier)

Is it as we like it? (As You Like It)

Men are insecure potentates in billowing pantaloons. (The King and I)

Dialogue as fractured as a futurist painting. (Machinal)

It will make you think about your own life. (The Whale)

Out, you baggage! (Romeo and Juliet)

Racism rarely comes to the ball dressed as racism. (Rasheeda Speaking)

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now. (The Great Wave)

It's alive? (Frankenstein)

Do you go to the theatre to be shouted at? (Angry)

A one-woman show about the LA Riots? Go for it. (Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992)

Wholly Anglo-Saxon. (Cell Mates)

The National's Jane Eyre resists the charisma of the sexy bigamist. (Jane Eyre

Pandora! I adore ya. I implore ye. Don't ignore me. (The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole: The Musical) 


Holy bloodsuckers! Is Batman a vampire? (The Sunday Times)

Warning! Low-flying pots. Greek Easter in Corfu (The Sunday Times)

What to do if you're surrounded by ravenous wolves (The Blueprint)

How companies with strong network effects are taking over the world (European CEO)

How well do you know your stuff? Take the Cool Quiz (The Guardian)

Everything you ever wanted to know about coolness, and more (Australian Financial Review)

Everything you ever wanted to know about coolness (The Irish Times)

What Donald Trump doesn't understand about irony (Slate)

Why old people are cooler than young people (The Daily Telegraph)

Gerald Laing, the artist that made a war zone go pop (Financial Times)

Fancy joining a new literary movement? The launch of the Method Writers (The Independent)

Intellectual, moi? An intro to five French thinkers (The Sunday Times)

The blight of Cultural Name Fatigue (The Independent)

Five great books that sound intimidating but aren't (Big Issue)

"Sex with you is really a Kafkaesque experience" – unpicking the genius of Annie Hall (The Irish Times)

Why the Bad Sex Prize is still funny, and still needed, after all these years (The Sunday Times)

How to nail an intellectual name-dropper (The Daily Telegraph)

Where are the British intellectuals? (The Sunday Times)

Now let us praise bearded men (GQ)

Time to make a stand against the absurdities of copyright law (Daily Beast)

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts? Actually, no (New Statesman)

Might your ex be secretly living in your home? (The Sunday Times)

Benedict and I: My fond reminiscences of acting with Benedict Cumberbatch at Harrow (The Sunday Times)

How the Matterhorn was conquered, what happened next, and what we can learn from it (Newsweek)

Resoundingly quiet applause, please, for the anti-celebrities (The Sunday Times)

The song that changed rock music forever (The Sunday Times)

Trapped in the world's smallest country (The Independent)

Swimming from Albania (The Guardian)

BOOKs (the spectator)

Nemesis: Alcibiades and the Fall of Athens by David Stuttard

The Mind is Flat: The Illusion of Mental Depth and the Improvised Mind by Nick Chater

[Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement by Andre Spicer and Carl Sederstrom; in Literary Review]

Viking Britain: An Exploration by Thomas Williams

The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey

Stiff Upper Lip: Secrets, Crimes and the Schooling of a Ruling Class by Alex Renton

Round-up of graphic novels

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard

Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears by Thomas Dixon

The Great British Dream Factory: The Strange History of our National Imagination by Dominic Sandbrook

Harry Mount's Odyssey: Ancient Greece in the Footsteps of Odysseus by Harry Mount

Special Deluxe by Neil Young

Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh by John Lahr

TRAVEL (daily mail)

Happiness is... a water park in Greece

The joys of flexi-catering in the French Alps

A swish Swiss soother? 

On the trail of Winnie-the-Pooh in Ashdown Forest

The Durrells keeps getting better. And so does Corfu Town

The Ottoman town of Gjirokaster in deepest Albania

How to ski in Italy on a shoestring budget

Forget the Durrells. It's Corfu that's the star of the show

The country that boasts the world's tallest people

The delights of early-season snow in the Swiss resort of Murren

A tour of the Spectre-cular locations that feature in the new Bond movie

The brilliance of Bergamo and the genius of Giovanni Battista Moroni

Jerusalem: the most amazing city you've never visited

Watching the World Cup, in Germany, surrounded by Germans



Thomas W. Hodgkinson has worked as Deputy Editor of Literary Review (2001-2) and Contributing Editor at The Week (2007-present). He writes book reviews for The Spectator, travel pieces for the Daily Mail, and occasional features.

In 2011 he became the first person officially to swim from Albania to Corfu. He is definitely the first person to have done it naked.

In 2013 his screenplay Memoirs of a Stalker was a finalist at the Austin Film Festival. In 2014/15 his screenplay The Magnificent Kate Morgan was nominated as a finalist or semi-finalist at the Austin Film Festival, the Sun Valley Film Festival, and the LA Comedy Festival.

In 2016 he launched the Method Writers movement, devoted to applying the techniques of Method Acting to creative writing. The idea was inspired by his own experience of writing Memoirs of a Stalker inside a cupboard at his home. 

That is his face, concealed behind this text.


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