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Briony Willis

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Review | Not Like Their Mothers: Ambai & Uhart

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This autumn, Archipelago Books published two short story collections in translation: A. Ambai’s A Kitchen in the Corner of the House, translated by the late Lakshmi Holmström, and Hebe Uhart’s The Scent of Buenos Aires, translated by Maureen Shaughnessy. Ambai’s and Uhart’s collections reveal each author’s range as a storyteller [...]

Interview | Keith Coventry: The Old Comedy

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Eric Block Keith Coventry: The Old Comedy This month sees the opening of UPSTONE SOHO, a new gallery in the heart of Soho. Its inaugural show is by acclaimed British artist Keith Coventry, who will be showing a suite of new collage works. These works combine lollipop-like sticks that have crude humour printed on them - referencing the ‘Old Comedy’ from ancient...

Essay | Reflections on The Brothers Karamazov by Patrick Maxwell

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In his masterpiece, Enemies of Promise (1938), Cyril Connolly distinguishes between two different styles of writing, which he terms as the ‘Mandarin’ and the ‘Vernacular’. In the former group: Edward Gibbon, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce; among the latter: William Hazlitt, George Orwell, and Christopher Isherwood. Fyodor Dostoevsky is a writer of neither groups [...]

Interview | Cecilia Brunson Projects Founder on I Am Awake by Feliciano Centurión

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Eric Block Cecilia Brunson Projects Founder on I Am Awake by Feliciano Centurión Cecilia Brunson opened her eponymous Bermondsey-based gallery in 2015, providing a much needed European platform for historical and contemporary Latin American artists. A champion of art from this region, Cecilia Brunson Projects has introduced London audiences to major figures of Modern Contemporary art such as Alredo Volpi, Coco Fusco...

Review | The Night of the Long Goodbyes by Erik Martiny

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The Night of the Long Goodbyes, Erik Martiny, River Boat Books, 2020, 282pp, $17.95 (paperback) Erik Martiny’s The Night of the Long Goodbyes is a hugely enjoyable and hugely disturbing novel. It is multi-faceted, ambitious, and very successful. Set sometime in the mid-twenty-first century, it begins as a political and social dystopia. (Here, on the margin, let me note that one...

Interview | George Salis: Sea Above, Sun Below

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Author George Salis has just published his first novel with River Boat Books. Sea Above, Sun Below is described as containing the following elements: ‘Upside-down lightning, a group of uncouth skydivers, resurrections, a mother's body overtaken by a garden, aquatic telepathy, and a peeling snake-priest’. Read on to get a taste of this oneiric world [...]

Essay | Gentrifying New York by Leonard Quart

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Leonard Quart Gentrifying New York The New York one walks through these days is unrecognizable from the city that existed a decade ago. New developments are occurring at a breakneck pace throughout the city, and while much of it is happening on an individual level, some of it is lumped into massive, overweening projects rising all over the five boroughs. They...

Review | Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits

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Throughout art history, the self-portrait has remained a point of captivation. From Velasquez to Van Gogh, the artist’s rendering of selfhood provides a fascinating insight into the psyche of a figure often shrouded in mystery, revealing to the viewer traits which even the photograph fails to capture [...]

Interview | Quentin Blake: Anthology of Readers

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Best known for his illustrations of Roald Dahl’s books — including Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda, The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory amongst others — Quentin Blake's latest exhibition, Anthology of Readers, turns his eye to book-lovers [...]

Interview | Bahia Shehab: At the Corner of a Dream at the Aga Khan Centre Gallery

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Eric Block Bahia Shehab: At the Corner of a Dream at the Aga Khan Centre Gallery The acclaimed Egyptian-Lebanese artist, designer, educator and street art activist Bahia Shehab’s work first came to global attention when she played an active role in the Arab Spring in 2011. Shehab used calligraffiti stencil works which she sourced from words written on mosques, plates, textiles, pottery and books from various countries, and spray...

Review | Love, Rage – and Laughter by Alex Diggins

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It is hard to smile at the apocalypse. Extinction Rebellion, the global climate crisis movement occupying cities and social media feeds from Cairo to Melbourne, signs its newsletters: ‘In love and rage’. The climate-induced societal breakdown is, this sign off implies, no laughing matter. Higher ideals and deeper, more searching emotions [...]

Interview | Richard Baker on winning the 2019 HIX Award

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This year’s HIX Award attracted more than 600 entrants and, as founder Mark Hix admits, it was very tough trying to pick a winner from the final fifteen. After much deliberation, the judges of the 2019 HIX Award, Tate Director Maria Balshaw and Head of the Royal Academy Schools Eliza Bonham Carter, selected Richard Baker for his painting Hall...

Poetry | The Scientist by Andrew Wynn Owen

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Andrew Wynn Owen The Scientist Before the time of skiing on Europa,               Enceladus still a far-flung starry dream, When humankind had met no interloper               To shake its trust in being God’s only scheme – When hope was cheap (since all the wildest hoper               Concocted was...

Review | Slip of a Fish by Amy Arnold

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Ash, the protagonist of Amy Arnold’s debut novel, is a curious creation; she is fascinated by the etymologies and sounds of language, storing her favourite discoveries in an imaginary ‘word collection’, she swims in an abandoned lake with her daughter Charlie to practice breathing underwater, steals dogs from pubs [...]

Review | Robyn Denny: Works on Paper

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Charlie Dixon Robyn Denny: Works on Paper Robyn Denny’s work soared with the post-war momentum of 60’s London, helping to define the visual culture of a generation. Whilst Denny is perhaps better known for large scale murals, including public installations, Robyn Denny: Works on Paper sheds new light on a previously overlooked element of his practice. Spanning the length of the artist’s...

Essay | Tony Harrison: Poetry & Class

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Patrick Maxwell Tony Harrison: Poetry & Class The use of poetry as a form of class war has arguably never had particularly significant results in much of literary history, perhaps due to the fact that vitriol and verbose anarchy make it difficult for prose and poetry to endure. However, Tony Harrison's poetry can be seen as one of the exceptions to this generalisation.  Harrison's...

Interview | Elise Ansel: yes I said Yes at Cadogan Contemporary

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As arguably the biggest week in the London art-world calendar sets in, there is a striking exhibition on display at Cadogan Contemporary in which the acclaimed American artist Elise Ansel reclaims female identity from the old master paintings [...]

Interview | Kristina Marie Darling

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Kristina Marie Darling is an author and literary critic. Her book Je Suis L’Autre: Essays & Interrogations was named one of the 'Best Books of 2017' by The Brooklyn Rail, with her collection Dark Horse: Poems (C&R Press, 2018) receiving a notable review in Publishers Weekly. Darling currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Tupelo Press and Tupelo Quarterly, as an opinion columnist at The Los Angeles...

Interview | Cultural Traffic founder Toby Mott on Arts Fairs and Counter-culture

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Eric Block Cultural Traffic interview: Arts Fairs and Counter-culture The roving global arts and publishing fair, Cultural Traffic, will hold its fourth London edition at Old Spitalfields Market on Saturday 5th of October 2019. It happens during Frieze, but it’s free of charge. Eric Block met its founder, punk historian Toby Mott, read the full interview below. Toby Mott, why did you start...

Fiction | Blue Nude by Charlotte Newman

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It was ironic, she thought. Her first shift at the museum was understaffed, it was just the two of them in ceramics. He was dark-lashed, very slight – given more to edges than the centre of things [...]

Essay | A Dream of Maps: Notes from a Book Launch Tour, June 1981 by Chris Rice

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Chris Rice first met Matthew Sweeney at a poetry workshop in London in 1976, and they remained friends for forty-two years until Matthew's death in 2018. Chris Rice's elegy to Matthew and their long friendship [...]

Review | A Frank O’Hara Notebook by Bill Berkson

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A Frank O’Hara Notebook, Bill Berkson, No Place Press, 2019, 278 pp, £35.00 (hardcover) Frank O’Hara’s poetry has previously been described as being written like entries in a diary, his work more like an autobiographical depiction of his daily life than a solemn portrait of life itself. The scenes of his life as a central figure in the ‘New York School’...

Interview | Sara Shamma: Modern Slavery at Bush House Arcade

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Simon Tait Slavery and the mother lode In 2012, shortly before a car bomb exploded outside her suburban Damascus front door forcing her to gather her two small children and escape to Lebanon, painter Sara Shamma saw a news report about an auction of girls and young women in Northern Syria with a tariff according to age (the younger the individual...

Review | Seen by your fingertips: Queen Mob’s Tea House and Berfrois

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Anyone who thinks fiction and poetry are dying art forms needs to stay at home and get online more. As Russell Bennetts wrote in The Digital Critic ‘the revolution might not be televised, but will almost certainly be seen by your fingertips.’ Bennetts’s two literary websites [...]

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