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”

Breakfast at Tiffany’s: how Hollywood retold a gritty story

Published in BBC Culture on May 9, 2016

The little black dress. The pearls; the oversized sunglasses and the absurdly long cigarette holder. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – the 1961 film based on Truman Capote’s 1958 novella – has become more famous for its visual shorthands, its signifiers of New York chic and fashionable femininity, than its actual story or characters. Continue reading “Breakfast at Tiffany’s: how Hollywood retold a gritty story”

Review: I Call Myself a Feminist, Letter to a Young Generation

Published in The Independent on Sunday on November 21, 2015

In 2013, Fifty Shades of Feminism provided a platform for a multitude of feminist voices. I Call Myself a Feminist halves the number – and slashes the age range, to offer “the view from twenty-five women under thirty” (alongside lots of inspirational quotes from feminists from Mary Wollstonecraft to Tina Fey). It’s a sound endeavour: fourth-wave feminism has galvanised an internet-savvy, internationally-interacting, next-generation of young women. That they deserve a platform is irrefutable. Continue reading “Review: I Call Myself a Feminist, Letter to a Young Generation”

Review: The Gap of Time, Jeanette Winterson

Published in The Independent on sunday on October 4, 2015

Ahead of next year’s 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, Hogarth Press is releasing a series of novels based on his plays. Gillian Flynn tackles Hamlet, Howard Jacobson does The Merchant of Venice, but first comes Jeanette Winterson’s “cover version” of The Winter’s Tale. Continue reading “Review: The Gap of Time, Jeanette Winterson”

Review: I Saw a Man, Owen Sheers

Published in The Independent on Sunday on July 5, 2015

“The event that changed all their lives happened on a Saturday afternoon in June.” That’s the opening line of Owen Sheers’s new novel; what exactly that event was, you’ll have to read 170 pages to discover. The Welsh writer’s second novel, I Saw a Man is billed as a thriller, a new departure for him. Continue reading “Review: I Saw a Man, Owen Sheers”

Virginia Woolf should live on, but not because of her death

Published in The Guardian on May 27, 2015

Virginia Woolf may be famous for her death – she drowned herself in 1941 – but she is enjoying an uncommonly busy afterlife. A seemingly unending stream of novels, plays and films seek to re-animate her, fictionalising Woolf’s life – and death. And it ripples out: her wider circle, the Bloomsbury group, are also regularly brought back to life for our entertainment. Continue reading “Virginia Woolf should live on, but not because of her death”