Michael Dirda

Michael Dirda is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post Book World and the author of the memoir “An Open Book” and of four collections of essays: “Readings,” “Bound to Please,” “Book by Book” and “Classics for Pleasure.” Dirda was born in Lorain, Ohio, graduated with highest honors in English from Oberlin College, and received a Ph.D. in comparative literature (medieval studies and European romanticism) from Cornell University.
Latest from Michael Dirda

9 strangely wonderful books beyond the bestseller list

Michael Dirda recommends several recently published odd and wonderful books.

February 24, 2023

A little-known French archaeologist, finally in the limelight

Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, who saved ancient temples from destruction, is the focus of Lynne Olson’s new book, "Empress of the Nile."

February 16, 2023

Ignorance is not always bliss — and not always bad — a new book argues

“Ignorance,” from British historian Peter Burke, explores the myriad ways in which “not-knowing” — consciously or unconsciously — has shaped history.

February 10, 2023

The moon falls to Earth in a 1939 novel that remains chillingly relevant

“The Hopkins Manuscript,” newly reissued, recounts a global catastrophe through the sometimes humorous perspective of an ordinary Englishman.

February 2, 2023

Why M.R. James is the Arthur Conan Doyle of supernatural fiction

M.R. James, a master of spookiness and a carefully controlled denouement, inspired what became known as "The James Gang."

January 27, 2023

The novel ‘Mr. Breakfast’ asks: What if you could choose your fate?

Jonathan Carroll’s long-awaited book is a fantastical tale of a man who can sample different lives, but once he picks one, he’s stuck

January 20, 2023

2 wonderful new books take armchair travelers to the Himalayas

John Keay and Erika Fatland deliver realistic portraits of a locale known as a place of snowy romance, spiritual wisdom and high adventure

January 12, 2023

Female authors have long been slighted. A new book seeks a corrective.

“Eve Bites Back,” by Anna Beer, indicts a system that for years ignored women who write and, to some extent, still does.

January 5, 2023

Roald Dahl is as troubling as he is beloved. Can’t he be both?

The author of children’s favorites like "Matilda" was a complicated man. A new biography, "Road Dahl: Teller of the Unexpected," reminds us how complicated.

December 28, 2022

A pioneering Black author’s novel takes us to a Wakanda-like civilization

Pauline Hopkins’s “Of One Blood,” originally published in 1903, is an exceptionally entertaining novel with a serious subtext: race.

December 21, 2022