The women poets taking over the world

Published in BBC Culture on July 14, 2017

Poetry. Does the word make you think of rarefied tomes on dusty bookshelves, po-faced readings with glasses of warm white wine, or trudging dutifully through homework? It shouldn’t. Poetry is exploding in popularity: igniting Instagram, streaming on Spotify, being shared on Twitter and going viral on YouTube. Continue reading “The women poets taking over the world”

‘My body shall be all yours’: the startling sex letters of Joyce, Kahlo and O’Keeffe

Published in The Guardian on May 2, 2017

“I did as you told me, you dirty little girl, and pulled myself off twice when I read your letter.” He might be celebrated for his epic and allusive novels, but James Joyce came straight to the point when writing to his partner, Nora Barnacle. This was the opening salvo of a letter from 1908 and is just one of scores of explicit missives he sent her. Continue reading “‘My body shall be all yours’: the startling sex letters of Joyce, Kahlo and O’Keeffe”

Everyone’s favourite book has been turned into an incredible play

Published in Refinery29 on March 13, 2017

Few books inspire such breathless fandom as Elena Ferrante’s. Her four “Neapolitan Novels” have proved huge international hits, with over 5.5 million copies sold in over 50 countries. Despite such reach, they still have a cultish status; converts tend to press them on friends and family, to talk about the main characters Lenu and Lila as if we knew them. We get fiercely possessive – and then comes news that the books are being turned into a stage show. Can they really be brought to life, or do such characters belong safely inside our heads? Continue reading “Everyone’s favourite book has been turned into an incredible play”

In his centenary year, Roald Dahl is everywhere – but should kids just go back to the books?

Published in The Independent on September 1, 2016

When news broke of the death of Gene Wilder, the image that kept cropping up was of the actor as the fabulously twinkly, slightly menacing Willy Wonka. Because the 1971 musical movie of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – is burned deep into our collective conscious. Continue reading “In his centenary year, Roald Dahl is everywhere – but should kids just go back to the books?”

Small is beautiful: from Jane Austen to George RR Martin, the novella is making a come-back

Published in The Independent on July 7, 2016

Small but perfectly formed: the novella is back. The slim little sister of your regular novel, a novella is usually defined as coming in under 50,000 words. But any long short story or short novel may slip into the category. Continue reading “Small is beautiful: from Jane Austen to George RR Martin, the novella is making a come-back”

The women of Wall Street: how the arts are taking on sexism in the city

Published in The i on June 20, 2016

When you think of the world of finance, you probably think of a bloke in a suit: macho, aggressive, throwing money around. From Wall Street to The Wolf of Wall Street, Billions to The Big Short, Enron to American Psycho, we’ve no shortage of books, films and plays about the bad behaviour of the big boys making (and sometimes losing) big bucks. Continue reading “The women of Wall Street: how the arts are taking on sexism in the city”