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Robert Greer

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Essay | Becket back in the cathedral

Great drama has a way of always being relevant whenever it is performed, even if, like T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral, it isn’t performed very often. The play is, of course, about the assassination of Thomas Becket [...]

Review | Flesh-Coloured Dominoes by Zigmunds Skujiņš

On the face of it, Flesh-Coloured Dominoes is a book of two novels spliced together: its chapters alternate between two wildly different narratives. One is a bildungsroman of sorts [...]

News | Collyer Bristow Prize: Caoilinn Hughes wins for Orchid & the Wasp

The Collyer Bristow Prize for Debut Fiction 2019, now in its second year, has been awarded to Caoilinn Hughes for her novel Orchid & the Wasp, a Bildungsroman about Gael Foess, a young woman navigating Dublin, London and New York, as she strives to build a life raft for her loved-ones amidst economic and familial collapse [...]

News | Caoilinn Hughes, on winning the Collyer Bristow Prize 2019

Caoilinn Hughes On winning the Collyer Bristow Prize First thanks go to my peers—Sophie Mackintosh, Danny Denton, Samuel Fisher and Katherine Kilalea—for writing such good books that it was an intimidation and an honour to be on this shortlist with them. Thank you to the judges of this prize because, to me at least, books don’t exist without readers, and it...

Review | After the Formalities by Anthony Anaxagorou

In ‘Cause’, the second poem in Anthony Anaxagorou’s collection After the Formalities, the poet reclaims the phrase ‘flames lambent’ – an image taken from Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech and quoted by historian David Starkey in a 2011 interview following the London riots – for poetry [...]

Review | Underland by Robert Macfarlane

How should writers respond to the ecological crisis? Both 'crisis' and the much-contested term ‘Anthropocene’ appear to bring us to the brink: there is, they tell us, no return to a state of innocence. If the possibility of an alternative future ever existed (and some claim it never did), then now it must be foregone [...]

Review | Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Company at Sadler’s Wells

I first saw the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Company during a visit to New York between Christmas and New Year in the mid-90s. I was entranced by the troupe and have never since missed a chance [...]

Essay | Foreword to Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes

Jelgava, lying just a short distance south of the Latvian capital Riga, once the seat of the Dukes of Courland as well as being a western outpost of the Russian Tsarist empire, has historically been something of a cultural crossroads. Whereas Riga became prosperous [...]

Review | A Chip Shop in Poznań by Ben Aitken

A Chip Shop in Poznań, Ben Aitken, Icon Books, £10.50 (paperback) Ben Aitken arrived in Poland, he writes, ‘just after Cameron came to Warsaw to cut the Poles some slack’ and left ‘with the sound of the triggered article still ringing in my ears’. In 2016, as the UK was on the verge of an unprecedented schism over Brexit,...

Review | Fur Coats in Tahiti by Jeremy Over

“The best way to live in the present is less carefully”: for better or worse, Jeremy Over’s winningly preposterous fourth collection, Fur Coats in Tahiti, follows its own advice to the letter. On the whole, I think, the better wins out, but let’s start by getting some of the worse [...]

Essay | Unmitigated Disaster: The Beatles’ Abbey Road by Kenneth Womack

The following essay is an extract from Kenneth Womack's forthcoming book Solid State: The Story of “Abbey Road” and the End of the Beatles, which will be published by Cornell University Press in October. Kenneth Womack Unmitigated Disaster What we call the beginning is often the end And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.  ...

Review | Parsifal at Bayreuth Festspiele

Uwe Eric Laufenberg's thought-provoking, sometimes flawed production of Parsifal is revived for audiences at the Bayreuth Festspiele. The Bayreuth Festspiele is a type of pilgrimage for opera fans, and most particularly, fans of the composer Wagner. Bayreuth is where Wagner had a theatre built to showcase his operas (principally for his Ring Cycle). It was there Parsifal first premiered; and...

Review | William Blake at Tate Britain

Thought to be mad by Wordsworth but considered a genius by Coleridge, William Blake (1757 - 1827) was an oddity during his lifetime — a genius engraver of images with a penchant for public nudity and political radicalism, a poet who would break off [...]

Review | The Nowhere Man by Kamala Markandaya

"Real danger is never born of anything concrete. There are only words in the beginning," writes Kamala Markandaya. There were 71,251 race-related hate crimes recorded in 2017/18, according to a Home Office report. That’s an average of 195 racist incidents every day [...]

Interview | Sam Lock: Now/here at Cadogan Contemporary

This September Cadogan Contemporary presents Now/here, the largest solo presentation to date from acclaimed British artist Sam Lock. The artist’s third exhibition with the gallery, Now/here will display fifteen medium- and large-scale paintings, sculpture and a suite [...]

Review | The Fallen by Carlos Manuel Álvarez

The Fallen is only 136 pages long, but it bursts with resounding voices of unbridled pain. Carlos Manuel Álvarez’s polyphonic novel takes us across a Cuban family, each member with individual chapters — the son, the daughter, the mother, the father [...]

Interview | Ben Turnbull: Manifest Decimation

Since his first show in 2002, London-born artist Ben Turnbull has produced a compelling body of work exploring America in all its glory and iniquity. His forthcoming show American History X volume III, Manifest Decimation, will be on display [...]

Essay | The King of Hay-on-Wye

A maverick anarchist, bookseller and entrepreneur, Richard Booth, who has died aged 80, transformed the small Powys town of Hay-on-Wye into a mecca for the second-hand book. His significant and colourful legacy in the book trade inspired a formula [...]

Review | Grace Under Pressure: David Foster Wallace on Tennis

Many writers have played tennis: Nabokov, Frost, Pound, Hemingway, Theodore Roethke, Randall Jarrell, even Solzhenitsyn in Vermont and Martin Amis today. Like poetry, tennis has strict rules and requires technical skill. It is individual yet social, aesthetically pleasing, intellectual, at times erotic. Despite its formal rituals [...]

Interview | Robert Lundquist: Never say sorry or common words again

My Father was a boxer. He taught me how to box when I was nine. This commonality, and the need to impress him, informed a great deal. When Charles Bukowski at an event asked me to ‘take it outside’ over a girl, I said okay. I was 21 and shy. Everyone at the party kept telling him [...]

Review | Patience by Toby Litt

In every first-person narrative readers are ultimately trapped in the mind of the protagonist, doomed only to know what they know. In Patience, author Toby Litt takes this concept further by sharing the story of Elliott, who is himself trapped in his mind, as his disability inhibits most of his physical movement [...]

Interview | Varun Grover: Of Paper Thieves and Nuclear Ducks

One of Varun Grover’s cats is called Chhenapoda, which translates to “Roasted Cheese” in English and is a beloved dessert from Odisha in eastern India. The writer and comic, who likes to name his favourite felines after confectionary, is perhaps best known instead for his biting satire [...]

Review | Dragonfly by Jari Moate

Dragonfly, Jari Moate, Tangent Books, 2018, pp.300, £8.99 (paperback) Jari Moate’s novel Dragonfly begins with an ex-soldier known only as Marine P who, after serving in Syria, ensconces himself in an abandoned chocolate factory in Bristol. But what happens next is far from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as P must battle both his inner demons and the malevolent forces...

News | Collyer Bristow Prize 2019 shortlist announced

The London Magazine has announced the 2019 shortlist for the Collyer Bristow Prize for debut fiction. Now in its second year, the prize celebrates exceptional literary fiction, inviting publishers to submit one debut work of fiction published in the calendar year 2018. The shortlist, which features outstanding, original writing published in the UK, is: The Chameleon by Samuel Fisher (Salt...

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