Our sexuality is naturally (and I do mean naturally) a part of what we are. So fiction has to deal with it in one way or another (and I do mean one way or another). The spinsterly Jane Austen hints of 'intimate attachments'. Charlotte Brontë permits Jane Eyre more freedom of expression with her 'bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh' allusion to intercourse with Mr Rochester.
In an age when social media reigns supreme and our celebrities are subjected to having their nude, private photographs gleefully circulated online without their permission, it is important to be reminded that, once upon a time, some public figures were beyond the public's grasp. This separation allowed space for stories to emerge and idols to be born.
Bronnie was a palliative nurse whose life was transformed when she found herself tending to the needs of the dying. She began to catalogue the most common regrets of the people she cared for. A common wish was that they had simply let themselves be happier.
It was the Bram Stoker Festival in Dublin this weekend, and the old boy's home town really vamped it up in his honour, from up on the big screen to down on the streets.
This year we discussed war in world literature today. Sigrid Loffler delivered a lecture entitled 'Narrating the un-narratable inferno' in which she suggested that contemporary German literature shies away from war, preferring 'to retreat into the private sphere, to escape into the realm of the idyllic - to withdraw too readily into the search for private happiness.