Clive Aslet is an award-winning writer and journalist, acknowledged as a leading authority on Britain and its way of life. He joined the magazine Country Life in 1977 and was Editor for 13 years. After publishing his first novel The Birdcage in 2014 (see video clip), he left to spend more time writing fiction. He has now finished a second novel, The Elephant’s Balls, and is at work on a third.
The Birdcage emerged from research that he did for War Memorial, resurrecting the lives of the individuals named on a village war memorial – Lydford in Devon. It was chosen almost at random to tell the story of Everyman at war. See the video clip.
Clive’s other books include The Edwardian Country House (2012), a reprise, completely redesigned and freshly illustrated, of his first book, The Last Country Houses, which was published in 1982. He has also written on country houses of the American Gilded Age, on British identity, on the countryside and on the House of Lords. Lady Antonia Fraser, reviewing Landmarks of Britain, published in 2005, called it ‘a brilliant, far-ranging enterprise’. Jenny Uglow wrote that his book, The English House, ‘is a thorough treat’: Clive is ‘the perfect guide’ to the subject, ‘combining long experience with a light touch.’ He subsequently travelled the length and breadth of Britain, from Cornwall to Caithness, for Villages of Britain.
As well as continuing his relationship with Country Life, Clive contributes to papers such as the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Spectator, and often broadcasts on television and radio. He is well-known as a campaigner on the countryside and other issues. He is an Ambassador for the Woodland Trust and a Trustee of the charity Plantlife.
Married to Naomi, who is a publisher, with three sons, William, Johnny and Jojo (whose real name is Charles), Clive divides his time between Pimlico, in central London, and Ramsgate, on the Kent coast. He likes talking, eating and the arts. ‘I am lucky,’ he says. ‘My working life is organised around all the things I feel passionately about.’ He wrote A Horse in the Country about his (then) budding equestrian career but is now back on two feet. In another existence he would like to be an opera singer, a chef or William Cobbett.
Sir Max Hastings, newspaper editor and historian: ‘Clive Aslet has been an extraordinarily informed and influential standard-bearer for the cause of the countryside and Britain’s heritage for many years. He is an exceptionally thoughtful and fluent man, who lends distinction to any form with which he is engaged.’