Lucy Popescu
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Lucy Popescu is a writer, editor and arts critic with a background in literature, theatre and human rights. She worked with the English Centre of PEN, the international association of writers, for over 20 years and was Director of its Writers in Prison Committee from 1991 to 2006. Lucy is currently a volunteer mentor for the creative writing programme of Freedom from Torture and edited its most recent anthology, Body Maps, published in June 2011. The Good Tourist, her book about human rights and ethical travel, was published by Arcadia Books in late 2008. She co-edited the PEN anthology Another Sky (Profile Books, 2007) featuring the work of writers that PEN has helped over the last 40 years. She was Granada’s youngest published author in 1982 with Pony Holiday Book. Lucy reviews books for various publications, including the Independent, Independent on Sunday, TLS and Tribune magazine. She has a regular column in The Literary Review about persecuted writers and contributes to Exeunt and film Cine-Vue’s websites. She is a Trustee of the JMK Award for Theatre Directors and co-director of the Sri Lanka Campaign. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2006.

Entries by Lucy Popescu

Film Review - Half Of A Yellow Sun

(0) Comments | Posted 9 April 2014 | (14:23)

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Half Of A Yellow Sun takes its name from the flag of Biafra, the breakaway state which existed in Igbo-dominated south-east Nigeria from 1967 to 1970. The brutal civil war that followed the secession is the backdrop to Biyi Bandele's absorbing feature-film debut, adapted...
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Book Review - A Country Too Far

(0) Comments | Posted 10 February 2014 | (20:24)

A Country Too Far, co-edited by Rosie Scott and Tom Keneally, is a timely attempt to set the record straight about asylum seekers in Australia, to counter the negative media propaganda and to protest at the government's treatment of them. Featuring some of Australia's finest writers, it is an immensely...

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Book Review - The Assassin from Apricot City

(0) Comments | Posted 30 January 2014 | (18:31)

In The Assassin from Apricot City, Polish writer Witold Szablowski strikes an excellent balance between hard-hitting journalism, astute political analysis, and humorous observations. His reportage provides a fascinating insight into contemporary Turkey, its strengths and many contradictions.

Szablowski begins by exploring the diversity of opinion surrounding the demonstrations that...

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Book Review - A Meal in Winter

(0) Comments | Posted 10 December 2013 | (12:03)

2013-12-10-amealinwinter.jpgBefore "The Final Solution" around two million Jews were shot and buried in mass graves in Nazi-occupied Poland. The extent of popular anti-Semitism in Poland during World War II continues to be debated today. Both form the backdrop to Hubert Mingarelli's masterful novella.

...
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Film Review - The Act of Killing

(0) Comments | Posted 1 December 2013 | (17:36)

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Although it does not make easy viewing, Joshua Oppenheimer's surreal and chilling documentary, The Act of Killing, recently released on DVD, is a must see. Oppenheimer looks back to 1960s Indonesia, a time of brutal bloodshed when more than a million alleged Communists, ethnic...
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Book Review - The Aziz Bey Incident

(0) Comments | Posted 9 November 2013 | (12:32)

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Ayfer Tunç, an acclaimed novelist and short story writer in her native Turkey, is widely translated abroad but little known in English. In this engaging short story collection, we follow the fortunes of various characters, defeated by circumstances or forces outside their...

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European Literature Days 2013

(0) Comments | Posted 4 November 2013 | (11:37)

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Every year I am invited to a charming and informative literary festival in Austria called European Literature Days (ELiT). It's held in the small town of Spitz, next to the River Danube in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wachau. During...
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Book Review - Write Against Impunity

(0) Comments | Posted 30 October 2013 | (20:48)

Freedom of expression is a noisy, uncomfortable, disorderly business. Emotional and intellectual discomfort is the characteristic of a healthy society. John Ralston Saul, President, PEN International, Write Against Impunity, 2012

The Day of the Dead (El Día de Muertos) is celebrated in Latin America from 31 October to 2...

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Book Review - All Dogs Are Blue

(0) Comments | Posted 26 September 2013 | (22:47)

Rodrigo de Souza Leão deliberately blurs the line between reality and fantasy in his heartbreaking portrayal of life in a Rio mental asylum. A poet and novelist, Souza Leão was himself confined to home and mental institutions for most of his life and died in a psychiatric clinic, aged just...

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Book Review - The Parrots

(0) Comments | Posted 25 September 2013 | (15:53)

Filippo Bologna's debut, How I won the War, was an entertaining and lively satire about land development in Tuscany. The Parrots focuses on the world of literary awards with the restless energy of Rome as its backdrop.

Three nameless authors are competing for a major prize. The Beginner's first and...

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Reykjavik International Literary Festival

(0) Comments | Posted 22 September 2013 | (12:48)

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The weather was hostile but the welcome warm at the Reykjavik International Literary Festival. Many world renowned writers, including Margaret Atwood, J.M. Coetzee, Herta Muller and Haruki Murakami, have attended this festival since its inauguration in 1985 and this year was no exception....
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Book Review - Sefer by Ewa Lipska

(0) Comments | Posted 5 September 2013 | (16:39)

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Ewa Lipska is an acclaimed Polish poet and a major figure in European literature. Hopefully, this new translation of her complex, haunting novella, Sefer, will widen her English readership.


Lipska's main protagonist is Jan Sefer, a psychotherapist, who enjoys a comfortable existence in...

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Book Review - The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls

(0) Comments | Posted 28 August 2013 | (22:37)

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Horses are increasingly being used to help young offenders, troubled adults and difficult children. In Anton DiSclafani's debut novel, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, fifteen-year-old Thea is sent to an elite summer camp-cum-boarding school, ostensibly as a punishment for her sexually precocious behaviour...
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Film Review - Come As You Are (Hasta La Vista)

(0) Comments | Posted 4 June 2013 | (19:28)

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Come As You Are (Hasta La Vista), a quirky, heart-warming film, may just become the surprise hit of the summer. It's in Flemish (with a Spanish sub-title just to confuse us) and is about three disabled young men trying to lose their virginity. In...

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Film Review - Alps

(0) Comments | Posted 11 March 2013 | (13:10)

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Greek auteur Giorgos Lanthimos' latest venture, Alps, is out on DVD this week and proves as unsettling, bizarre and memorable as his acclaimed 2009 feature film Dogtooth.


A group of people hire themselves out to the newly bereaved. They are led by...

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Film Review - Hi-So

(0) Comments | Posted 1 March 2013 | (10:07)

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Newly returned from studying abroad, Ananda (Ananda Everingham) is filming on location in Thailand. He plays an amnesiac, trying to rebuild his memory and identity after having survived the 2004 tsunami. The setting is the ruin of an old hotel destroyed in...

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Film Review - Ginger & Rosa

(0) Comments | Posted 12 February 2013 | (10:46)

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Ginger & Rosa received a mixed reception on its theatrical release last year. The DVD is out this week and I must admit to being pleasantly surprised. The film covers similar moral territory to Lone Scherfig's An Education (a teenage rites of passage/older...

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Supporting Independent Publishers

(0) Comments | Posted 9 December 2012 | (23:00)

Since the announcement in October that Random House and Penguin Publishers would merge there have been further rumours of other major publishers joining forces. Bucking this trend, are the smaller, independent presses who continue to publish exciting new authors or established names that the bigger conglomerates think are no longer...

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Sri Lanka: Ethical Tourism Campaign

(45) Comments | Posted 11 November 2012 | (23:00)

This week, the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice (of which I am a co-director) launches a campaign aimed at promoting ethical tourism in Sri Lanka. The lobby group has recently uncovered evidence that a range of British tour operators are offering holiday packages that commercially benefit...

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Write Against Impunity - Latin America

(0) Comments | Posted 6 November 2012 | (14:23)

2012-11-06-PENimpunity.JPGIn Mexico, El Día de Muertos (the Day of the Dead), is celebrated from 31 - 2 November. Although a mortuary ritual, the fiesta's light-heartedness is expressed through the sale of sugar skulls, sweet breads and skeletal figurines. A table of ofrendas (offerings) is prepared...

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