It's been a month since my debut novel Try Not to Breathe came out in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, and another couple of weeks before it comes out in America and then Germany. It's been thrilling, numbing, weird, wonderful and at times, raw and scary. I'm prouder than I thought possible but I've also learned a few things along the way.
Why is there a huge reservoir of films based on books but rarely, if ever, an original movie that is subsequently turned into a novel? You may find a film-jacket edition on the shelves but never an original work. Books provide filmmakers with a solid foundation from which to start, and sometimes a track record of sales that suggests a ready-made audience.
Curtain Up really is a marvelous celebration of theatre in London and New York. It explores the entire journey of the productions, from conception to centre stage, with a great collection of personal artifacts that rarely see the light.
Which begs the question, can any film or television production ever "do justice" to the telling of any great story or life? It's not even a question.
Marion Wagschal's new show at Canada House is her first ever show in the UK. Relatively unknown outside of North America, the latest exhibition at Canada house is of paintings created between 1980 and 2015. Hopefully this fantastic show will bring her to the attention of a wider audience.
For a lot of people involvement in theatre, music and art can educate. It can battle isolation, loneliness and, as dramatic as it sounds, I believe that the love of art can be a reason to get up in the morning and live! Through the dark periods of my life, art in many different guises has been a glittering light in the darkness.
I really believe in the power of creativity to help. For me, it's writing. But equally all forms of creative expression are vital, whether that's doodling on a napkin or listening to super loud music and singing along at the top of your lungs.
This month Sadlers Wells held their annual event titled #Sampled, which lets new and existing audiences the opportunity to see a wide range of dance at a specially reduced price. A wonderful sample, of short excerpts of dance shows, typical of those that will be performed there across the next year.
This is a question that has been instigated by the recent furore over the dearth of black representation at the 2016 Oscars with the absence of a single nomination in any category. But this crisis is not confined to film and TV, it also extends to the arts. Why is this? It can't be because of lack of talent, will or ambition, there is plenty out there.
As a depressed and lonely 15-year-old, I bought a copy of Cosmopolitan, and attached to the cover was a novel: Burning Bright, by Helen Dunmore. Excep...
While the contribution the Creative Industries make to the UK economy is tremendous, to paraphrase Jessie J, it's not (just) about the money. They play an equally, if not more, important role in helping define us and shaping our national identity. "Britishness" is an intangible thing, something that cannot be explained in figures, or measured in fiscal terms.
The Royal Academy of Arts' new blockbuster exhibition Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse, is a triumph. It examines the role gardens played in Impressionist art and, rightly, frames this genre as radical and innovative.
Now in his 80th year, Sandle's strong views show little sign of moderating. We see depictions of Hitler with a dunce's cap, of innocent mothers and children being tortured and animals exploited for use in war.
This production sets the scene at the intimate Trafalgar Studios venue, with the story and it's multiple characters being told through four very versatile actors. Guy Warren-Thomas takes on the title role with ease, delivering a youthful outlook that gradually decays to reveal a darker foundation.
This seems to be the general attitude: that popular culture is something simple and not deserving of our attention. Here I put together a list of 5 books from the history of literature that have taken pop culture seriously, very seriously indeed.
Please don't think for a minute that I have done all of this by myself. For every child receiving a book there are 10 people who work locally to sponsor the program by raising money, registering kids and to do whatever they can do to make the Imagination Library successful. There is no better example of this than the effort in Southwark. Once again, kind and gentle souls have taken a dream conjured up in Tennessee and given it new life in their community.