About me

Born in England, I’ve been living in central Italy since 1980. My début novel – LITTLE MONSTERS – was published by Picador in 2008, the same year as a collection of short fiction, entitled THE SCENT OF CINNAMON AND OTHER STORIES (Salt Publishing). Since then I’ve published two novels set in Rome (ANY HUMAN FACE, Picador, and THE VIEW FROM THE TOWER, Exhibit A), a novella (THE SLAVE HOUSE, Kindle Single), and an unreliable memoir (WITH A ZERO AT ITS HEART, The Friday Project), chosen by the Guardian, which described it as “poetic, tender and funny”, as one of its best books of 2014. THE CHILDREN’S HOME, published in 2016 by Scribner in the United States and Aardvark Bureau in the UK, was described by Owen King as “a not-nice sort of fairy tale, where the magic doesn’t sparkle prettily but boils and oozes, where the Prince has a face of tatters, where the children take grown-up revenge on their monsters. It is also, somehow, a searching, empathetic narrative about forgiveness.” The following year, Aardvark Bureau/Gallic Books published TWO DARK TALES, containing two novellas which twin “spectral and social foreboding” (TLS). My most recent novel came out in 2018 in the UK and 2020 in the USA. Published by Gallic Books, it’s called PRODIGAL and has been described by its publisher as “A bold take on the queer coming-of-age story”.

Take a look around this site for anything else you’d like to know.

(Photo credit: Patrizia Casamirra)

18 Responses to About me

  1. Isabelle Grey says:

    I have recently finished Little Monsters, and wanted to say how much I enjoyed it – a very subtle story that penetrates under the skin and leaves one thinking about it days later.

    You and I knew one another slightly years ago, when I was Belle Anscombe and we had Stephen Heath in common! I’ve written a lot of TV drama (mainly crime), but have a novel out this summer (Out of Sight; Quercus) which deals with very similar ideas to Little Monsters – how to escape past damage, how not to go on repeating destructive behaviour. As I think with you in Little Monsters, I am far more intrigued by the legacy of, the ripples from, some big event (your father killing your mother) than by the event itself. I very much look forward now to reading Any Human Face.

    • What a lovely surprise, and haven’t you done well! It’s an ambition of mine, almost certain never to be fulfilled, to write an episode of Coronation Street, but I’d have been happy to contribute to The Bill, alas no more… I hope you enjoy Any Human Face as much as you did LM. And I’m also looking forward to reading Out of Sight. Do keep in touch!

      • Isabelle Grey says:

        Oh, Coronation Street, yes! When it’s good, the writing has been absolutely magic. And part of what keeps Little Monsters lingering so powerfully in the mind is its filmic images …

  2. So I’m not the only one to think Little Monsters has the stuff of cinema…

    • Isabelle Grey says:

      I’d be thinking Lynne Ramsay, that style of director …

      • One of the disadvantages of living in a small Italian town with only one cinema is that you lose touch with what’s going on, so I’d never heard of Lynne Ramsay before this morning! But I’ve done a little research and, yes, she’s just the person I’m looking for…

  3. cantueso says:

    To Charles Lambert on “One of the disadvantages of living in a small Italian town with only one cinema is that you lose touch with what’s going on”:

    And your language? Aren’t you afraid it will start to pick up some Italian ways? You wouldn’t even notice, but your friends at home might.

    I am Swiss, and I have more or less lost my native dialect here (in Spain), and that is not such a great loss, because it exists only as sound, has not much of a past and no literature. But when Americans here or English people or those from Ireland, all of them working as teachers, — when you hear all those “jo!” in a bar for instance, unofficial talk, you wonder whether they could still do without the Spanish ingredients.

    • It’s something you have to be aware of. Some people seem to lose it more than others – a lot of English people in Italy start to put an interrogative ‘no?’ on the ends of their sentences, which drives me bonkers. And then there are the little words that are more economical than their English equivalents, or that have no real equivalent, not to speak of words that describe a specifically Italian experience and don’t translate at all. The real risk may be that the register of your spoken English starts to get a bit Latinised, but I am aware of the risk, and I do what I can to stop this happening!

  4. Pingback: Another one of the Exhibit A Authors : CHARLES LAMBERT | Hey Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite!

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  6. Michael Walker says:

    The internet is remarkable. Everyone I know (almost) seems to regard it as something that might have been with us for ever and in fact it seems like yesterday that the word would have suggested, if anything, a new method of industrial fishing. Talking of fish Charles, you seem to be like a fish in water so far as your writing is concerned and the modern world and the especially the internet. I came across your name while searching for short story magazines which have not yet been offered anything by me and I saw your name and asked myself if it could be the Charles Lambert whom I and Andy Allen shared a flat with for a short while in Turin in er I think 1978 and Christmas Crackers it was! I do not know if you remember me. (Michael Walker) I do remember amusing myself by telling various Turin waiters (who were suitably awed) that you were a “scrittore multo celebre” and now fiction has become fact! I am envious of your success but I hope it inspires me into putting more effort into my own feeble endeavours, for example maybe by starting a blog. Unlike you, I am awed by the technology of it all. Your energy is undiminished-all that writing and travelling, brother! You have survived while Callan and his school seem to have become history. Anyway, just wanted to send a greeting from the distant past and you are welcome to write to me if you wish but I suspect your life is too full.

  7. Hi Charles,

    I’m the Marketing Manager for NYC Midnight, an organization that holds several unique and inspiring timed writing competitions each year. We’re very impressed with your work and I was hoping to send you a judge invitation for our next competition, the 8th annual Short Story Challenge. What’s an email address I can reach you at? Thanks!

  8. Jenny Offill says:

    Dear Charles,
    I just wanted to write and say that I loved With A Zero at Its Heart. It is so subtly and beautifully written. It reminded me a bit of Joe Brainard’s classic, I Remember, but your structure is of course much more intricate. I am trying to spread the word about it to other writers over here.
    Best of luck with it and with your new work.
    Jenny Offill

    • Jenny, what a lovely surprise. Thank you so much. You’re right, I think, to detect an echo of Brainard. I wasn’t aware of it as I wrote the book, but I Remember has always been among my favourite books; I loved its mix of apparent inconsequentiality and gravitas, something that ZERO also has (or I hope so, at least!) This probably isn’t the place to say how intrigued and moved (and impressed at a technical level) I was by Dept. of Speculation, but I will say it nonetheless. And I can’t thank you enough for spreading the word. It means a lot to me.
      All my best

  9. Kathleen Dillon says:

    I just read your opinion piece about stately homes in the NY Times. I did a pilgrimage to Down House & was very disappointed in the offerings at the shop: Heritage obviously don’t have a very good marketing department. Why on earth wouldn’t they sell versions of the china Darwin used instead of the tat you mention? The Wedgewood connection is such an integral part of his life.

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  11. I have just finished reading “The Children’s Home” and was captivated! But….can you please explain to me what I just read? The story was so good but I was thoroughly lost with the ending. What was the factory producing? The children were buried up to their heads in the potting shed? Where did these children come from and what was to become of them buried in the ground? What happen in the offices that left a blood bath? Where did David, Moira and Engle come from?
    I am not a literary expert but do enjoy good reading and as a retiree I have read some excellent books. I hope to next read “Little Monsters”
    Thank you.

    • Hi Alma

      Thank you so much for getting in touch to tell me that you enjoyed The Children’s Home. I’d love to be able to answer your questions but I’m afraid that, if I do, I might spoil the reading pleasure of other people. One of the qualities of the book that I most value, and worked hardest to achieve, is its open-endedness. I know there are different ways of interpreting what happens, particularly at the end of the novel, and I want it to stay that way! But you’re certainly right about the children and Engel coming from somewhere else and there are several clues to where that might be. As for the factory, Morgan often talks about power, and its dangers, and that may be enough to understand what the factory represents in the novel. But I don’t want to say any more!

      Let me know what you think about Little Monsters! It has some themes in common with The Children’s Home, but the world in which it takes place is all too recognisably the one we live in…

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