Arts for health vs. Health for artists?

The arts and creativity have a key role to play in improving health and well-being, strengthening communities, and relieving the pressures on the UK health and care service. That’s the message from this fantastic set of documents, podcasts, videos and illustrations, released today following a parliamentary inquiry. Readers of WordPress, this may not be your… Continue reading Arts for health vs. Health for artists?

Reading is dead. Long live reading!

Did anyone else get caught up in the saga of Bob, Bill and Barb this week? If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, stop what you’re doing and check out┬áthis beyond excellent Twitter thread┬áto witness storytelling magic unfold at breakneck speed, through a stream of tweets that are meme-illustrated to perfection. These are my… Continue reading Reading is dead. Long live reading!

Beautiful Animals by Lawrence Osborne

Anyone want to change my mind about this book? On reflection, my decision to structure a weekend’s reading around this and Kit de Waal’s fantastic My Name is Leon (review here!) was, perhaps, ill-conceived. In style and setting, the two books are world’s apart. And after spending a day with the charming, downtrodden Leon, on… Continue reading Beautiful Animals by Lawrence Osborne

Working class stories: My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal

I have a lot of respect for Kit de Waal. Not only has she produced a debut novel which manages to be both devastating and stubbornly hopeful in the way it deals with big issues of racial and social injustice, violence, mental health and family breakdown. She’s also shining a light on the gaping holes… Continue reading Working class stories: My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal

Bibliotherapy – just what the doctor ordered?

Why does reading make you feel good? Is it the enjoyment of escapism? Is it because immersing ourselves in someone else’s words can bring a deep but intangible connection to another person, or to whole other worlds? Or maybe, it could be that reading good writing – whether it’s fantastical fiction or a high-quality piece… Continue reading Bibliotherapy – just what the doctor ordered?

The (speculative) future is female?

“Is it because so much has already been won, or because so much is at threat?” This question was posed in a recent article by Vanessa Thorpe about the growing popularity of feminist (or, at least, female-centric) dystopian speculative fiction. What do you think? I’ll hold my hands up immediately: though I have a long-standing… Continue reading The (speculative) future is female?