Why Alice is the ultimate icon of children’s books

Published in BBC Culture May 12, 2021

For books that are all about surprising transformations, it should perhaps be no real surprise that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass are among the most frequently adapted and reinterpreted stories ever written.

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Review: Luster, Raven Leilani

Published in The Observer January 17, 2021

Luster sails into 2021 on clouds of praise, vapour trails of hype streaming behind it. “The most delicious novel I’ve read,” says Candice Carty-Williams; “brutal – and brilliant” opines Zadie Smith. Perhaps she would say that, being Raven Leilani’s mentor and former tutor at NYU.

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Review: The Prophets, Robert Jones Jr

Published in The Observer January 4, 2021

In a letter to the reader at the start of Robert Jones Jr’s debut novel, he says he was compelled to write the book after hearing voices insisting he ask the question “Did Black queer people exist in the distant past?” and then share the answer: of course they did.

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Review: On Connection, Kae Tempest

Published in The Observer October 25, 2020

Kae Tempest has added one more string to an already crowded bow: On Connection is the first nonfiction work by this Mercury prize-winning musician, Ted Hughes award-winning poet, acclaimed playwright, novelist, and chief creative chronicler of the last decade. It’s also Tempest’s first publication since changing their name from Kate, and using they/them pronouns.

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Review: More Than a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Published in The Observer September 7, 2020

It’s hard to overstate just how influential Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman was when published in 2011 – and how far we’ve come since. Nine years on and the feminism she had to advocate for has become thoroughly, totally mainstream, while perky books by clever journalists about every conceivable aspect of being a woman have proliferated in the ground Moran tilled.

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Review: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Published in The Observer March 29, 2020

When #MeToo broke, it wasn’t just about high-profile cases of abuse – it felt like a new light being shone on all past interactions, allowing us to see them differently. Everywhere you saw women talking feverishly to each other, you knew it would be about this creepy boss, or that older guy.

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