When Writing Seems Impossible

One of my favourite reactions to the question ‘why do you write’ came from Lisa McInerney when I saw her at the Emerald Street Literary Festival last year. She’d just won the Bailey’s Prize for fiction (you can see my thoughts on the book here), so she had reasons to be cheerful. Her answer was […]

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The Glorious Heresies – Book Review

The Bailey’s Prize this year was recently won by the brilliant Naomi Alderman, with her book The Power (you can read my thoughts on that wonderful novel here). So I thought it was about time I caught up on last year’s winner, The Glorious Heresies, by Lisa McInerney. Everything about this book demands attention. The […]

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Power – Gender and Naomi Alderman’s Novel

In terms of power and control, it’s a scary time. Unity and strength seem to be giving way to individual gripes and complaints, people turned against each other to shout blame for the lives they’re not happy with. Unstable times lead to unlikely heroes. People currently in power are those that we wouldn’t have dreamed […]

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When Revenge Goes Bad…

Frank Herbert offers us an insight into the darker side of human nature in The White Plague, an apocalyptic tale of revenge. The cover of the book is very apt – murky fog, a solitary figure, a town shrouded in obscurity. Even if the weather is fine, or we are indoors, this novel revels in […]

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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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Squirrelling About – The Portable Veblen

It’s not often I finish a book in which the plot is almost entirely about a relationship, and I feel that it has been time well spent. Perhaps because of the squirrels, or the light-hearted take on the evils of big pharmaceutical companies, but whatever it is, The Portable Veblen has it. I really don’t […]

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