His death in December 2020 marked the end of a career which produced internationally acclaimed novels in every decade from the 1960s onwards. Le Carré’s work was enjoyed by readers and critics alike and adapted multiple times for film and television, making him one of the most celebrated and influential authors of modern times. But where to start if you’re new to this work? Here is our guide to get you hooked.
The author's novels topped global bestseller lists in each decade from the 1960s onwards. He won widespread international acclaim as a humanitarian, as well as a literary giant, winning the Olof Palme Prize in 2020.
Published on October 17 2019, Agent Running in the Field will be le Carré’s 25th novel.
Alongside Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Shannon, Florence Pugh stars in The Little Drummer Girl, the latest adaptation of John le Carré’s thrilling novel of espionage and betrayal. Here she reads le Carré’s description of the character that she herself plays in the BBC series.
John le Carré’s suspense-filled drama The Little Drummer Girl hits TV screens later this year. Here's your first look at the production that includes industry heavyweights Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Shannon.
In John le Carré's new novel, A Legacy of Spies, George Smiley makes a comeback. But how much do you know about the events that made the man? Read on to discover the story behind the spy...
Explore some of the infamous London locations featured in John le Carré’s novels below.
In this extract from The Pigeon Tunnel, John le Carré describes the accusations of disloyalty he faced from former Secret Service colleagues - and how Alec Guinness used them in his portrayal of George Smiley
Penguin editor Mary Mount on how it felt to be the first reader of John le Carré’s new book, A Legacy of Spies, which sees the return of Smiley after 25 years
John le Carré was born in 1931. For six decades, he wrote novels that came to define our age. The son of a confidence trickster, he spent his childhood between boarding school and the London underworld. At sixteen he found refuge at the university of Bern, then later at Oxford. A spell of teaching at Eton led him to a short career in British Intelligence (MI5&6). He published his debut novel, Call for the Dead, in 1961 while still a secret servant. His third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, secured him a worldwide reputation, which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People. At the end of the Cold War, le Carré widened his scope to explore an international landscape including the arms trade and the War on Terror. His memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel, was published in 2016 and the last George Smiley novel, A Legacy of Spies, appeared in 2017. He died on 12 December 2020.
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