In 2016, the arts producer Amber Massie-Blomfield began “plotting an adventure”: a freewheeling trip around Britain’s “most remarkable” theatres. Each would need to have an unusual story, or a distinctive setting. Continue reading “Review: Twenty Theatres to See Before You Die, Amber Massie-Blomfield”
The Female Persuasion begins with an event that might have gone unremarked on a few years ago, but in 2018, seems almost absurdly topical: a young student, Greer, is groped at a party. Several girls come forward with similar allegations, but the offender gets off with an apology. Greer is appalled; an activist spark is ignited. Continue reading “Meg Wolitzer’s #metoo novel sets the stage for a generational clash of feminism styles”
“I beheld the miserable monster whom I had created…” Goldfish Bowl, the new play by Caleb Femi – former young people’s laureate for London – opens with this quote from Frankenstein – the moment the monster comes to life. Continue reading “Poet Caleb Femi was shot and almost killed as a teenager. His play reveals how reading Frankenstein gave him new life”
“I genuinely don’t really remember writing the book.”
It’s a bold admission for an author to make when discussing their forthcoming novel. Especially if you’re a bestseller like Sarah Perry, whose debut, After Me Comes the Flood, was critically acclaimed, and whose follow-up, The Essex Serpent, was a big fat hit. Continue reading “Sarah Perry on sexism in publishing, why we don’t need ‘strong female characters’, and inventing her own gothic monster”
I spoke to Cillian Murphy, Max Porter, and Enda Walsh for the New York Times; full piece here.
I reviewed W. Sydney Robinson’s biography of Ronald Harwood for the TLS – take a look here.
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”
“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”
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”
I wrote about a book I like to return to and re-read – Mrs Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf – for Oh Comely magazine