UK Literature

Love Your Literature

Robyn Harris | Posted 16.04.2014 | UK Entertainment
Robyn Harris

These are things that a tablet or an e-reader can't offer you. You can't feel pixels. Read a book, for Christ sake. You'll learn a lot more than just from the words it displays, I promise.

Language Is Not Mere Words

Howard Milton | Posted 11.04.2014 | UK
Howard Milton

Last week, facing a blank blog page, I distractedly tuned in to Radio 4. Fortunate in my timing, I caught the book of the week - 'The Unexpected Professor', John Carey's gentle reminiscence of his days as an Oxford undergraduate in the 50s.

How Stephen King's 'Carrie' Made Me Find My Own Power

Gabrielle Leimon | Posted 06.04.2014 | UK Entertainment
Gabrielle Leimon

I sat down at the front of the bus and began reading. I'd learned that sitting near the bus driver minimised the bullying rather than sitting further back, in the middle of a crowd of people. I was instantly captured by the narrative style, using fictional newspaper clippings, letters, articles.

The Political Grounding of American Christianity

Tony Sobrado | Posted 28.03.2014 | UK
Tony Sobrado

In a stunningly ironic way it is the political equivalent of survival of the fittest that seeks shelter under a religious cannon. The religious Americans have there ultimate dream cake and eat it: the pre-eminence of self-regard on this earth is the right thing to do for yourself, others and God and as a consequence you are spiritually rewarded for it in the afterlife.

'Never Anything but Kindness': George Saunders, Folio Prize Winner

Jamie Andrews | Posted 24.03.2014 | UK Entertainment
Jamie Andrews

Like many people gathered at the St Pancras Hotel last week for the inaugural Folio Prize awards, I was delighted when Lavinia Greenlaw, chair of the Jury, announced George Saunders as the winner.

Fiction Is My First Language, So Why Not Use It to Talk About Art?

Tony White | Posted 03.03.2014 | UK Entertainment
Tony White

Alongside my more traditional literary fiction, novels such as Foxy-T (Faber and Faber), I have been writing short stories about art for a few years now. Perhaps that sounds odd: writing fiction about art. Isn't that (to quote Martin Mull) 'like dancing about architecture'?

Book Review: Tabish Khair, How to Fight Islamist Terror From the Missionary Position

Claire Chambers | Posted 25.02.2014 | UK Universities & Education
Claire Chambers

This is a fast-paced, hilarious novel that nonetheless has sufficient depth to withstand several re-readings. If there's any justice, it's going to be as big a hit in Euro-America as it has been in Khair's home country of India.

ON ... You'll Never Fail Rediscovering (or Discovering) a Literary Classic

Martin Treanor | Posted 18.04.2014 | UK Lifestyle
Martin Treanor

Many people disregard the allure of the classic writers, seeing them as old, established, and jaded. Yet, in their day, these writers were the revolutionaries, cutting edge writing with cutting edge messages, and I challenge anyone looking at them anew to place themselves in the mindset of the reader of the time - even swap mental genders if you like - and see them as they were intended.

Hanif Kureishi and the Philosophers' Stone

Catriona Luke | Posted 08.04.2014 | UK Entertainment
Catriona Luke

Kureishi's novel The Last Word shows that if you run the vernacular flotsam and jetsam of human experience on top of a structure of abstract philosophical thought, you may still effect change in society, by literary means.

Fifty Shades of Liberation?

Sonia Hendy-Isaac | Posted 06.04.2014 | UK Universities & Education
Sonia Hendy-Isaac

The eruption of 'mommy porn' typified in E.L James' 50 Shades series has been argued by some as a marker for female sexual empowerment. I will agree that it has enlightened a change in coffee table conversation, in a similar way to the emergence of Ann Summers' parties; but here's the rub - the series isn't actually representative of BDSM or female empowerment - it's simply about male possession.

Signifying Nothing

Caragh Little | Posted 04.04.2014 | UK
Caragh Little

It was when I saw the suggestion in a fashion magazine, late last night, that animal print might be a suitable style statement for a trip to the zoo, that I knew the game was up.

Qian Chen's Joyful Horses: Happy New Year!

The London Magazine | Posted 05.04.2014 | UK Entertainment
The London Magazine

Qian Chen is a respected artist from Hunan who has settled in London. He trained for many years to become adept in the classic brush techniques of the notoriously difficult Chinese water and ink painting. His obsession is the equine form and, thus, his horse is the centrepiece of the London poster.

The Bible for Non-religious People, Part Five: Someone Else's Words to Shout or Sing

Ben Whitnall | Posted 15.03.2014 | UK Lifestyle
Ben Whitnall

The Bible can function in the same way as your favourite novel, poem, movie script or soundbite-friendly pop scientist. You don't have to consider yourself religious to find words in the Bible that give voice to something you're struggling to say yourself.

Butch, Femme and Beyond: Books for Queer Parents and Their Kids

B.J. Epstein | Posted 10.03.2014 | UK Entertainment
B.J. Epstein

Children who have queer parents but who don't see families like theirs represented in literature (or in movies or on TV) might start to get an erroneous impression about the way the world works. They might begin to think that their family is unique, and therefore strange and unacceptable.

Slow Metabolism in Times of Fast Food: The State of the Book

Ewa Zubek | Posted 05.03.2014 | UK
Ewa Zubek

I recently read a fascinating article by John Seed, cleverly entitled 'An Alluring Woman with Fries and McDonaldization in Art'. Among other things, John noted that a McDonaldised culture - one that focuses on efficiency and so becomes predictable - may be upon us.

How My English Degree Taught Me More About Politics Than My Public Policy Degree

Laura Blumenthal | Posted 06.03.2014 | UK Universities & Education
Laura Blumenthal

In a time when people say that arts degrees are a waste of time I think that mine has given me so much more than just studying equations, economics and theories. It has been the Guernicas, Schlinder's lists, Sarah Kane plays and Hemingway poetry which makes people realise the weight of an event that never affected you, and how affecting it is.

The Arrival of Poetry

The London Magazine | Posted 18.02.2014 | UK Entertainment
The London Magazine

The arrival of poetry is catastrophic. You are seized by indescribable wonder and an equally incomprehensible terror. You face a blank page to write what no one has asked you to write, with very little idea of what you will end up writing.

For Booksake Don't Buy a Kindle

Kevin O'Donnell | Posted 09.02.2014 | UK Entertainment
Kevin O'Donnell

I love the pursuit of a book. Perusing the selection of a bookshop, running my finger along the spines and looking at the artwork and the blurbs. Judging every book by its cover. It's something to do alone, become absorbed in the task, every bookshop has a gem in the dirt for you. Just enjoy the dig.

How to Write a Sentence

James Thomas | Posted 04.02.2014 | UK Comedy
James Thomas

Where shall/should you/one start/begin? At the start/beginning, of course! You ought always, and in everything you do, to begin a sentence at the beginning. It is simply no good to start in the middle and work your way out. I guarantee that you will become confused.

The Commitments: A West End Review

Tom Ward | Posted 03.02.2014 | UK Entertainment
Tom Ward

My fears dropped away like the bag of revels I'd just spilt on the floor. As the broad Irish swearing continued, a few old people in the front rows began to shuffle and glance about nervously. It was clear The Commitments was going to be a show like no other.

Going Low-Brow at the University of Kent

B.J. Epstein | Posted 01.02.2014 | UK Entertainment
B.J. Epstein

Everyone knows that children's literature can't possibly be high quality, right? It doesn't count as proper literary fiction, does it? It can't make people consider big issues or challenge ideas of genre, can it? This week, the University of Kent's creative writing programme embarrassed itself by its advertising strategy, followed by a series of rather ignorant tweets.

From Beaches to Hipster Cafes: Finding a Good Place to Write

Patricia Evans | Posted 23.01.2014 | UK Entertainment
Patricia Evans

Dorothy Parker couldn't have said it any better. Writers have quoted and re-quoted her to describe just exactly how they feel about the writing process. No one can blame them. The writing process is as complex as the human brain and it takes so much for it to be perfected.

Stop Being Literary Snobs and Embrace Chick-Lit

Ben Mirza | Posted 23.01.2014 | UK Entertainment
Ben Mirza

Literary snobs, the types that actually laugh at Shakespeare comedies, moan something chronic about the popularity of chick-lit, the fact that the genre regularly dominates book charts across the world. There's a reason why these people hate chick-lit, and it's nothing to do with declining standards.

Yehoshue Perle: A Modernist Voice From the Warsaw Ghetto

Amy Licence | Posted 23.01.2014 | UK Entertainment
Amy Licence

Hailed as a modern Yiddish masterpiece and dismissed as too bleak to be possible, this new translation of Perle's 1935 autobiographical novel Everyday Jews belongs in the same tradition as Gorky's My Childhood and Joyce's Dubliners.

Brecht Goes West

Alistair Beaton | Posted 23.01.2014 | UK Entertainment
Alistair Beaton

when The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui transferred last month from Chichester to London's West End, there were some raised eyebrows. Happily, our producers now have smiles on their faces. They've proved that there is an audience for Brecht in the commercial theatre. But it's not easy.