Why I’m Only Reading Books by Women

I’m trying to remember the last time I read a book by a man. Or, for that matter, the last time I watched something that didn’t have a female character in a dominant role. It seems that, perhaps unconsciously at first, I’m moving away from things created by men, or at least things that have […]

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Fragment #1 The Jacket

It was bought for Harry’s christening. Sharp darts in the waist and a slippery blue lining. Mum kept it at the back of the wardrobe, shielded in a cover. Black makes anything look smart. A baked late-September day; the interview. Perched at the back of the bus, the hum of the engine vibrated sweat into […]

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We Are All Disordered

This month I started teaching AS Media Studies. What a treat. I’d forgotten the delights of delving into the signs and representations that we are bombarded with in daily life, and unpicking the institutions behind them, the messages they send us, and why. Of course, it can lead to a few rude awakenings. Poring over […]

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We Need to Keep Talking About Kevin

In the book I’ve just finished reading, several rather unpleasant things happen. Arguably the first most significant even is when, about 200 pages in, a mother throws her six-year-old son across the nursery so hard he breaks his arm. Upsetting, yes, but not for the reasons you might think. Because as the arc of the […]

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Why I’m Not an Angry Feminist

Today I had the joy of experiencing a running buddy while out on the streets. As I ran past him, he came into step beside me, waving his arms and making silly high pitched noises. After which he collapsed in giggles, so amused by the sight of a woman running down the road. All of […]

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Empress Orchid – The Mistrusted Empress

I first heard about ‘Empress Cixi’ through a BBC documentary called ‘The Ascent of Woman.’ An impressive summary of a huge swathe of human history, the programme asked questions about the subjugation of women over the centuries, and examined the reasons behind it. Much of it was startling, such as the fact that covering women […]

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A Little Life

There’s something immensely satisfying in a novel that appears to start out one way, and then takes you somewhere you weren’t expecting. Initially, A Little Life appears to be a well-written if slightly superficial account of a group of young men in New York. The prose is beautiful, but not laboriously so. At a moment […]

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A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing

Personally, I’m not a fan of the word ‘genius.’ It’s derived from ‘genie.’ The idea that a little imp comes and sits on your shoulder and gives you an idea, and that’s where your fantastic work comes from. To me, that detracts from the graft, the inspiration, the dedication, needed in order to produce something […]

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Wearing Makeup Isn’t Empowering

Genderspecs – unpicking gender stereotypes, one blog at a time There’s an awful lot that can empower you these days. Shower gel, pants and even socks are being held up as things that allow us to assert our rights. To a certain extent, this can be true. The physical expression of who we are can allow […]

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The Dark Rooms Writers Have to Enter

Yes I’m a little late, but I have just devoured Emma Donoghue’s wonderful book, Room. Not since Christmas have I found a book that made me pause at every moment I could on my journeys around London, and even had me walking down the street reading in order to just get a few pages in […]

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