Martin Rowson

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Martin Rowson (born 15 February 1959) is a British editorial cartoonist and writer. His genre is political satire and his style is scathing and graphic. He characterizes his work as "visual journalism".[1] His cartoons appear frequently in The Guardian and the Daily Mirror. He also contributes freelance cartoons to other publications, such as Tribune, Index on Censorship and the Morning Star.

Life and career

Rowson was adopted as a child,[2] and educated at the independent Merchant Taylors' School in Northwood in north-west London, followed by Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he read English Literature.

Cover of Tristram Shandy by Martin Rowson

Rowson's books include graphic adaptations of The Waste Land and Tristram Shandy. Snatches, his novel, was published in 2006 (ISBN 0-224-07604-3). It is a comic journey through history, focusing on the "stories of the worst decisions the human race has ever made". Stuff (2007), his next novel, is part autobiography, part history of his family and upbringing. He also drew original cartoons for the title sequence of the film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.[3]

Horace I know... - Detail from page 7 of Rowson's Tristram Shandy

In 2008 he published The Dog Allusion: Gods, Pets and How to Be Human, arguing that religion is a complete waste of time and money — much like keeping pets. (The title is itself an allusion to the Richard Dawkins book The God Delusion.) In 2014 'The Coalition Book' containing a collection of cartoons, and a written account, of the four years of the coalition government was published by Self Made Hero. He is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and a distinguished supporter and board member of the British Humanist Association.[4]

Rowson was appointed 'Cartoonist Laureate' of London when Ken Livingstone was Mayor, and his cartoons appeared in the Mayor's newsletter, The Londoner. In 2006 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Journalism from the University of Westminster. In 2014 he was appointed to an Honorary Fellowship by Goldsmiths, University of London.

On 15 September 2010, Rowson, along with 54 other public figures, signed an open letter published in The Guardian, stating his opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to the UK.[5]

In June 2013, Rowson became the fifth trustee for People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), a wildlife conservation charity based in Battersea, south-west London.[6]

Rowson is married and has two children. Who's Who lists his interests as "cooking, drinking, ranting, atheism, zoos, collecting taxidermy".[7]


  • Rowson, Martin (1983). Scenes From The Lives Of The Great Socialists. Grapheme Publications. ISBN 978-0946459025. 
  • Rowson, Martin (1990). The Waste Land. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0060964764. 
  • Rowson, Martin (2008). The Dog Allusion: Pets, Gods and How to be Human. Random House. 
  • Rowson, Martin (May 2010). The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. SELFMADEHERO. ISBN 978-1906838133. 
  • Rowson, Martin (November 2011). The Limerickiad Volume 1 – From Gilgamesh to Shakespeare. Smokestack Books. ISBN 978-0956814425. 
  • Rowson, Martin (March 2012). Gulliver's Travels. Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1848872820. [8]


  1. ^ Per Martin Rowson's remarks during appearance on BBC Radio 3's Essential Classics program. (30 July 2013)
  2. ^ Thinking Allowed, BBC Radio 4, 19 May /2010
  3. ^ "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies". Art of the Title. Retrieved 6 June 2016. 
  4. ^ distinguished supporters
  5. ^ "Letters: Harsh judgments on the pope and religion". The Guardian. London. 15 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "List of trustees", PTES website
  7. ^ 'ROWSON, Martin George Edmund', Who's Who 2008, A & C Black, 2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007.
  8. ^ review in the Morning Star [1]

External links

  • Martin Rowson cartoons at The Guardian
  • Interview alongside Steve Bell
  • Cartoonist Laureate page at the Mayor of London's website
  • Biography of Rowson from the British Cartoon Archive, University of Kent
  • Rowson on Hogarth – a video presented by Martin Rowson at Tate's website.
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