Essays by John-Paul Flintoff

Many of the essays below were previously published in The Observer, The Times, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Financial Times, Wallpaper*, High Life, Medium – and elsewhere.

Books can be found here


July 2022
Shaping A Book As You Go Along
Reflections from working with authors.

July 2022
Bots For Boris | Finding Fakery on Twitter
It’s not hard to find. And there’s a lot of it.

May 2022
Plates And Mugs To Bring People Together
How it started with a couple of scribbled sketches.

March 2022
Shared Envelope | A Minimalist Approach To Magazines
Something by post (snail mail).

February 2022
Independent Ukraine | Look How Far It Has Come
Dispatches from Kyiv (updated).

January 2022
Email Newsletters | Goodbye to Mailchimp
I couldn’t take it any more.

September 2021
Homage to QWERT YUIOP | Everyday Writing
On the pleasures and specific challenges of typing on a screen and on paper

August 2021
Riots, Brooms and Giant Whales | WTCTW 1
My best-selling book, 10 years on. Part 1 of a series (click to read the rest)

Write To Change The World
A writer’s impact is for others to decide. We only determine our intention

July 2021
For Creative Types Who Want To Be Better Writers
I’m writing a book on How To Write, and sharing my process as I go along

June 2021
The Adventures of Addison and Steele, plus Google Analytics
On starting a new publication

March 2021
A Recipe For Writing
Don’t try to be perfect

February 2021
From Successful To Psychiatric Patient
Public speaking took me around the world. After a series of traumas, I had a breakdown – but large part of my recovery came from public speaking

Plus, Some Popular Essays From The Archive

The Men Fighting Florida’s Python Epidemic
An invasive species its its way through the Everglades

We Won’t Go: Three British bankers and Enron
“Even I thought I was guilty when I read it”

How Richard Gere Changed My Life
He wasn’t an easy person to interview

198 Ways To Seize Power, Without Anybody Getting Hurt
If Gene Sharp had his way, there would be no more fighting

Eat Meat To Save The Planet
…but not quite as much as you probably eat already

Chris Langham: I’m One Of The Lucky Ones
Interview with an actor, straight out of prison

Sian Berry, Leader of the Greens
Fashion shoot, no hair shirts

Can ‘Bad Kids’ Turn Good?
One London woman believes they can

Are You The Right Man For The Job?
Psychometric testing, and me

Soul For Sale
Who wants mine?

See also this, for the The Financial Times,
Or this, for The Guardian


This archive is big, overwhelmingly big. I set up this site early in the millenium, when the newspapers I wrote for didn’t seem to be archiving my writing. (Hah!)

Starting in 2021, my plan is to work through it all, and share it in a new form – as well as writing things that are entirely new, for publication in my monthly newsletter, Everyday Writing. (That’s right: monthly, not every day.)

I’ve held back from doing this for a long time, because I’ve felt uncomfortable using Mailchimp, which doesn’t feel like a newsletter but a marketing machine. Every time I start writing something there, I find myself thinking of readers as consumers, targets of commercial messages. I hate that, and it puts me off publishing.

But recently I came across a newish newsletter platform, Buttondown1, which allows me to create several different newsletters (I’ve got one just for the best man at a wedding, to tie up with my book on public speaking), and feels very simple inside – really and truly designed for publishing, not selling stuff.

(Don’t get me wrong. I love selling stuff. I’ve sold a lot of my art2 in the year of pandemic. That gives me huge satisfaction. But when I’m writing, I don’t want to be selling.)

Why publish in a newsletter at all? Why not just post it here on my website? Well, I’m increasingly drawn to writing in a way that isn’t entirely public. Partly that’s for me: I don’t always want to share everything with everyone. But also for you, dear reader, because many people don’t leave comments or reply to something public, and I really like to hear from readers – from you. I like to incorporate your observations and queries in my next piece of work.

That’s more likely to happen if I send out my essays to you by email: you can reply if you want to without all the hoopla of public comments and tweets etc.

Naturally, I won’t mind if you don’t reply, or even read them. In fact, you’re entirely at liberty to unsubscribe, instantly. But the offer is there.

The archived newsletter will be available here on my site, but that’s what it will be – an archive, with no comments or ongoing debate.

Anyway, that’s my plan as of today (27 May 2021), but I daresay I’ll pop back in here to re-write this page as and when fresh ideas occur.

Thanks for reading.


1 Buttondown is here:

2 I’m currently overhauling my art pages. Sorry about that.