Jewish Chronicle: Forty Autumns

Nina Willner was only five years old when she learnt that the reason she had never met her grandparents, aunts and uncles was because they were trapped behind “a curtain” in East Germany. “Someone, I thought, simply needed to pull that sheet of fabric to the side and let those poor people out,” is how she recounts her immediate thoughts as a little girl growing … Continue reading Jewish Chronicle: Forty Autumns

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Times Literary Supplement: How to date a feminist

There were ten men in an audience of about a hundred at How To Date a Feminist, a new play by Samantha Ellis (the author of How To Be a Heroine) at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston. As a feminist, I was naturally curious to find out what it means to date me. But it quickly became clear that the feminist in question in Ellis’s play … Continue reading Times Literary Supplement: How to date a feminist

Times Literary Supplement: Big flat lies

In Newton’s Apple and Other Myths about Science, twenty-eight academics refute some of the most pervasive myths about science. Isaac Newton discovered gravity, when he sat in the orchard and an apple fell on his head, according to one of the most famous stories of scientific discovery. During his life, Newton told the apple anecdote four times, and it only became well known much later, … Continue reading Times Literary Supplement: Big flat lies

Standpoint: Clearing the Fog of War

Through conversations with the people he meets in Ukraine, Tim Judah provides a unique picture of what is happening on the ground in wartime. Crisscrossing the country, he explores the impact of the ongoing conflict, with a focus on the lives of the majority of people, who are caught between westward-leaning nationalists and Russian-backed rebel forces. The book is not a blow-by-blow account of events … Continue reading Standpoint: Clearing the Fog of War

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Standpoint Magazine: The Story Of The Short Story

When short stories were still widely published in magazines, they had the capacity to react to unfolding events, writes Philip Hensher, the novelist and critic who edited these two volumes. Now the principal outlets for short story writers are no longer periodicals — apart from Standpoint and a few others — but competitions. “The dullest short stories I read from the last fifteen years were … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: The Story Of The Short Story

Standpoint Magazine: Further Adventures

One summer afternoon in 1862, the mathematician Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) took the daughters of his dean at Christ Church, Oxford, on a boat trip down the Thames. He entertained the three sisters, Alice, Lorina and Edith Liddell, with the whimsical story of Alice’s adventures in a magical world entered through a rabbit hole. On their return to Oxford, Alice asked Carroll to write down … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: Further Adventures

Financial Times: ‘All You Can Lose is Your Heart’ by KayLynn Deveney

“Storybook ranch houses”, built in the 1950s and 1960s, are a feature of neighbourhoods in the American south-west. The first photograph above was taken in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where such dreamy, pastel-coloured homes stand in contradiction to the desert that surrounds them. The photographer KayLynn Deveney was born in Albuquerque, where her interest in storybook homes began. She went on to study journalism and photography, … Continue reading Financial Times: ‘All You Can Lose is Your Heart’ by KayLynn Deveney

Financial Times: ‘Mirror – Untitled (2005)’

Hannah Starkey’s new urban landscapes often contain people, but she rarely captures them interacting. Instead her photographs portray moments of lonely contemplation, the subjects absorbed in private reverie, staring into space, at a wall or another woman, or at themselves in a mirror — as in the photograph above, Mirror — Untitled (2015), which was taken in east London and features in an exhibition of … Continue reading Financial Times: ‘Mirror – Untitled (2005)’

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Standpoint Magazine: Found In Translation

Guy de Maupassant is considered the greatest short story writer in French literature. He is often said to have defined the modern short story and influenced the likes of Chekhov, Maugham, Babel and O. Henry. In France, his work is studied at secondary schools and universities, as it is in England. But it is probably true to say that in the English-speaking world generally he … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: Found In Translation

Times Literary Supplement: Where there is no why

Like the tales told to Dante by the souls he meets in The Divine Comedy, literature provides us with mirrors to discover our own secret features, Alberto Manguel argues. The quest to figure out who we are and what we are here for, explains our delight in the tales of others. In this search for self-knowledge, literature does not provide all the answers, “but rather … Continue reading Times Literary Supplement: Where there is no why