Reading lists

What I’m reading: Jonathan Coe

The author of Costa Book Award-winner Middle England talks us through what's on his bedside table at the moment, from vintage psychological thrillers to French bestsellers.

Jonathan Coe
Jonathan Coe's reading list
Photo: Stuart Simpson for Penguin 2020

Jonathan Coe has published 13 books and wrote his first, a detective thriller called The Castle of Mystery, at the impressive age of eight.

Moving to London in the heady 80s, Coe pursued the creative life, writing songs for his short-lived band The Peer Group and a feminist cabaret group called Wanda and the Willy Warmers, but found international success with his fourth novel, What a Carve Up!

This was followed by The Rotters’ Club which was adapted as a BBC series in 2005 and scripted by two of his boyhood heroes, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, creators of Porridge and The Likely Lads. 

His latest, Middle England, has just won the 2019 Costa Award for Best Novel. In it he navigates the choppy waters of British life in the years before and immediately after the Brexit referendum, exploring the impact on people up and down the country.

We spoke to him as he learned of the win, and he told us what he loves to read in his downtime. 

Jonathan Coe's reading list
Photo: Stuart Simpson for Penguin 2020


Middle England by Jonathan Coe is out now. 


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