Contributor’s Picks – April/May 2018


Introducing Contributor’s Picks! Recommendations for the very best in arts, culture and literature from the writers for The London Magazine April/May 2018 issue. Read their writing in our latest issue, available now.


John Kinsella (Poem – 2nd November 2005 – April May 2018)
Hamlet – Royal Shakespeare Company Tour 2018

Paapa Essiedu is a brilliant Hamlet in the RSC’s new production, under the exciting and innovative direction of Simon Godwin. As I wrote immediately after seeing it: Impelling! Superbly and energetically paced. An almost labile Hamlet taking things into that different realm. I admire the ruptures in the text, the implosions of humour. And it’s devastating. The most affecting and powerful production of Hamlet I have seen.


Hélène Cardona (Poem to Circe XIX -April/May 
Nightwood – Djuna Barnes

One of the most poetic, beautiful and powerful novels I’ve ever read. An astonishing masterpiece, a tale of love, grief and loneliness, with an introduction by T. S. Eliot, who proclaimed the book “so good a novel that only sensibilities trained on poetry can wholly appreciate it.”



Linda Wilkinson (My London – April/May 2018)
Long Day’s Journey into Night – Wyndham’s Theatre 

Long Days Journey into Night at the Wyndham Theatre was a spectacular production. Lesley Manville’s performance in particular was mesmeric.


Declan Ryan (Reviews – Writing a Life – April/May 2018)
Homesick for Another World – Ottessa Moshfegh

I’m looking forward to Ottessa Moshfegh’s new novel but in the meanwhile I’ve been catching up on her short stories, Homesick For Another World, which are full of wonderful, taut writing and all manner of beautifully-handled disappointments and frustrations.


Konrad Muller (Essay – A Good Ordinary Wine – April/May 2018)
The House on the Hill (La Casa in Collina) – Cesare Pavese

Rereading Pavese’s timeless novel of love and flight in the last days of the Second World War.

Stuart Walton (Review – A Master of Human Intricacies – April/May 2018)
Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy – Tate Modern 

Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy, at Tate Modern until 9 September, is an expansive demonstration of the artist’s formal and tonal versatility, as encapsulated in one typically feverish year’s output.

Keiron Winn
The Life and Work of William Butler Yeats – National Library of Ireland

I have just been to Dublin, and the Yeats exhibition at the National Library of Ireland is superb. The items on display are comprehensive and immaculate. The exhibition is free, and also online.

Maggie Butt (Poems – Norwegian Wood and You See Him Coming – April/May 2018)
The Lost Words – Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

This is possibly the most beautiful book I’ve ever seen and one of the most poignant. It breathes new life into words that have been cut from the Oxford Junior Dictionary including acorn, bluebell, conker…

Every primary school should have multiple copies. Every home with a child should have one.



Moniza Alvi (Poems – Being Alive and To the Birds – April/May 2018)
Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays – Zadie Smith

I’ve been reading Zadie Smith’s essays ‘Changing My Mind’. A marvellous, independent thinker. I was particularly struck by her thoughts on ‘Middlemarch’ and ‘Brief Encounter’




Jeffrey Meyers (Review – A Modern Prophet – April/May 2018)
The Unexpected Professor – John Carey 

John Carey’s The Unexpected Professor is a brilliant intellectual adventure through his reading and teaching life at Oxford.


Peter Robinson (Poem – Empty Vase – April/May 2018)
Sallies, Romps, Portraits and Send-Offs: Selected Prose 2000-2016 – August Kleinzahler

I’ve been reading August Kleinzahler, Sallies, Romps, Portraits, and Send-Offs: Selected Prose 2000-2016, which makes a very good companion to his two-in-one volume Before Dawn on Bluff Road: Selected New Jersey Poems / Hollyhocks in the Fog: Selected San Francisco Poems.



Ian Brinton (Review – Henry James Comes to Terms – April/May 2018)
Selected Poems – Laurie Duggan

One of today’s most exciting Australian poets, Laurie Duggan, produces his most recent book which brings into focus what seems to be caught out of the side of one’s eye.



Martina Evans (Poems – Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, X-Raying Feet – April/May 2018)
Catholic Boy – Rosemary Jenkinson

I’ve been addicted to Rosemary Jenkinson’s book of stories Catholic Boy set mostly in Belfast – the uneasiness of uncertain peace as a backdrop for the jaunty adventures of her female protagonists makes for rich complications. She’s got a wonderfully witty light touch.



Will Kitson (Essay – Kazuo Ishiguro and Perceptions in the Parisian Suburbs –  April/May 2018)
Lonesome Dove – Larry McMurtry

One of those rare species of novels that exists as both a literary masterpiece and a nail-biting page-turner.


Phillip Hall (Essay – Lessing’s Terrorist – April/May 2018)
Migration Museum Late – Migration Museum 

My suggestion is The Migration Museum. The gives a surprising and intimate look at migration to Britain. There will be a late opening event on 29th March.


Read our contributor’s writing in our April/May 2018 issue: order now!