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Preview | Why I Write – with Hanif Kureishi, Kit de Waal, Ashley Hickson-Lovence and Elle McNicoll

The London Magazine Why I Write — with Hanif Kureishi, Kit de Waal, Ashley Hickson-Lovence and Elle McNicoll In a series of four newly commissioned films, four leading writers — Hanif Kureishi, Kit de Waal, Elle McNicoll and Ashley Hickson-Lovence — have shared their motivations and experiences as writers, answering the question of why they […]

Review | Heathers the Musical by Lucy Morris

Lucy Morris Heathers the Musical bombs its way back into London’s West End Heathers the Musical, Theatre Royal Haymarket, 22 June – 12th September 2021 Based on the 1988 film of the same title starring Winona Ryder, Heathers the Musical (Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy) is back in town for a limited time only, and […]

Interview | ‘I Dreamt of Writing about Heartbreak and Love’: Skye Jackson in Conversation with Scarlett Sabet

Another poet who is never far from me is Frank O’Hara. I don’t think I’d be a poet if not for his influence when I first began writing years ago. I love O’Hara’s ability to paint a scene – he wrote with such a delicious intimacy and an eye for the small moments that make up a life. I’m very drawn to his voice. When I read his poetry, I feel like I’m having a warm conversation with a very close friend. He gives you the room to breathe and listen. So Lunch Poems is pretty much […]

Review | Kin by Hugh Dunkerley

Hugh Dunkerley’s second full collection of poems, Kin, presents humane and often moving explorations of life both within and beyond the self. Children, parents and parenthood, evocations of loss, fear, ecological and psychological crisis, and meditations on the interconnectedness of living things are its principal themes. ‘First contact’, the book’s opening poem, celebrates the birth of a child and their emergence from […]

Fiction | A Botanical Garden Movie by Jay Merill

I am standing by the edge of the ornamental fish pond. Late Friday. The water isn’t spurting now. They must have shut down the mechanism. After I say mechanism I think of my mother and the odd way she behaved when we used to come here. Which was quite a lot, or as she would have put it: regular as clockwork. By the time I was seven or eight I noticed there were certain phrases she loved to repeat. Saying Botanical Gardens out loud made her go […]

Essay | ‘An Era of Maximum Foment’: How Reading My Great-Great-Grandfather’s Prison Diary Initiated Me into the World of Gulag Literature

In 1944 the Soviet Occupation of Romania led to the imposition of a communist regime in the country. My grandmother’s grandfather, Onisifor Ghibu, an independent politician who played a role in the creation of Greater Romania in 1918 and co-founded the first Romanian university in Transylvania, was the first professor at the university he taught at to be ‘purged’ and interned in a provisional prison for his ‘anti-Soviet’ activity. Carted to a prison camp in a wasteland […]

Fiction | Swimming Scene by Rob Palk

Rob Palk Swimming Scene He skipped over mounds and tussocks, across the flat top of the hill, the ground stretched out around him. He danced, swinging his bag, fizzing up the remaining cans, and fell into a trench. How had he forgotten the trenches? They’d dug them for practice, before they sent the town’s men […]

Fiction | Summer Séance by Haleh Agar

Today we will make contact with Flo and I am giddy with excitement. I did not sleep in the night. My mind fussed over details of the day ahead: the food preparation, Gustav’s mocha birthday cake that must be collected in the morning from the baker’s. But mostly, I could not stop thinking of Flo. What will I say to my dear friend after these eighteen months of separation? How is the afterlife treating you? What’s it like to be without a body? Met anyone nice? […]

Review | Yes Yes More More by Anna Wood

By the time the protagonist of the final story in Anna Wood’s new collection has been in New Orleans for a few days she finds herself very pleased with the city’s atmosphere: ‘Annie was bewitched by this easy life, so brilliant and simple and busy.’ This bewitchment is also the prevailing mood of the book. In Yes Yes More More life is quite often easy, if only for a moment, and Wood captures the simple, busy lives of the characters at their most brilliant […]

Review | An Idiom in Itself: Ugly Duckling Presse 2020 Pamphlet Series by Sam Buchan-Watts

Sam Buchan-Watts  An Idiom in Itself 2020 Pamphlet Series, Ugly Duckling Presse  Ugly Duckling Presse (or UDP) have over the past two decades fostered a rich and influential poetics culture. Their delectable print publications hark back simultaneously to the historical precedent of the pamphlet as fugitive political-poetical discourse associated with samizdat printing and the Presse’s […]

Interview | Richard Barnett on Wittgenstein, War and the ‘Shadow of Silence’

Reading Ray Monk’s magnificent biography of Wittgenstein, I came across a letter to his nephew, written some time in the thirties, in which he said that ‘[the war] saved my life; I don’t know what I’d have done without it.’ To find a philosopher as perceptive and as unillusioned as Wittgenstein saying that the war had saved his life – and then to find he’d worked out much of the Tractatus while serving as a forward artillery observer, about the most dangerous posting anywhere in the war – stopped me dead […]

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