David Walliams, BookTok and ’embarrassing’ novels: The death of the supermarket book shelf

Published in The i on November 6, 2023

Once upon a time, in the land of book publishing, a set of retailers ruled with great power: the supermarket was king, shaping British novel-buying tastes and making authors’ careers. By 2009, one-in-five books was being sold in supermarkets – often at a hefty discount that was tempting to consumers.

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‘Treason,’ the Musical Where the Fans Came First

Published in The New York Times on November 2, 2023

The catchy, folk-tinged numbers from “Treason the Musical” have been streamed online over a million times, in 96 countries. Its fans — known as “Plotters” — have been listening to an EP, an acoustic record and a live album of the songs, as well as sharing their own performances on TikTok. But until this fall, there hadn’t even been a full-scale production of the show.

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How Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury group unbuttoned Britain

Published in BBC Culture on November 2, 2023

“Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than merely to keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.” So wrote Virginia Woolf in her 1928 novel Orlando, about a young nobleman who lives for several centuries, changing sex along the way.

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When Britain was gripped by ‘fairy mania’

Published in BBC Culture on September 18, 2023

Imagine a fairy. Is the picture that appears in your mind’s eye a tiny, pretty, magical figure – a childish wisp with insect-like wings and a dress made of petals?  

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Trust Me: Never Having Children Doesn’t Mean You’re Going To Be Lonely

Published in Vogue on August 6, 2023

Last summer, I was at a festival with about 25 friends. We all camp together, something of an annual tradition, our numbers swelling year on year. Some of these people are among my oldest, closest friends; some are very new ones, whom I might see only once or twice a year; and some have gone from being the latter to the former. Looking around one morning when we blearily, cheerfully gathered for a communal breakfast, I was struck by a realisation: in this large group of people, everyone was child-free.

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Review: Billie Eilish, Leeds festival

Published in The Telegraph on August 26, 2023

Part way through her latest history-making set – Billie Eilish is the youngest star to headline Reading and Leeds festivals – the 21-year-old asks the crowd if they saw her here four years ago. In 2019, festival bosses had to move Eilish from the Radio 1 stage to the main stage – a sign of the nosebleed-inducing upwards trajectory she was on.

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Miss Saigon is back on stage – and people are angry

Published in The i on July 6, 2023

The heat is on Miss Saigon: Sheffield Crucible is mounting the first all-new production of the mega-hit musical since its premiere in 1989 – and in doing so, has made many people angry.

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Review: The Stirrings, Catherine Taylor

Published in The Telegraph on July 16, 2023

In the mid-1800s, Sheffield’s success as the Steel City was built on long hours and unsafe working conditions. This led to the Outrages, also known as the Stirrings: union militants resorted to violent protest, blowing up factories and murdering employers, a period immortalised in Alan Cullen’s 1966 musical, The Stirrings in Sheffield on Saturday Night.

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