Literature: A Tool for Social Comment

IMAGE/ classicalsteve   Recently, students at Columbia University in New York complained about the content of their course, namely Ovid’s Metamorphoses and its graphic depictions of sexual assault. Their recommendations for reform disturbed me – they proposed a rewrite of the curriculum to remove literature potentially challenging to ‘student identities’, trigger warnings on the literature, […]

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PHOTO/ David Prescott

Interview: David Prescott

PHOTO/ David Prescott   David Prescott, the CEO of Blackwell’s, one of the UK’s leading academic bookstores, takes no prisoners when it comes to his business strategies. He talks to us about the business of book-selling, and what it means in the modern world, particularly in the Oxford setting.   We start off by discussing […]

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Greg Baxter: A Way of Being

PHOTO/ Anja Pietsch   With his first novel, The Apartment, published in 2012, Greg Baxter established himself as a unique and important voice in contemporary fiction. This reputation has only solidified after the publication of his new novel Munich Airport earlier this year. The book is narrated by a young marketing executive, stranded in the […]

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Treasures from Afar: Wu Cheng’en

IMAGE/ Wikipedia Commons   Hailed as one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature, Journey to the West (1592) is a must-read for anyone deemed literate. Written by Wu Cheng’en during the Ming dynasty, the hundred-chapter novel tells of the epic pilgrimage of the Buddhist monk Tang Sanzang to Griddhraj Parvat (Vulture Peak) […]

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Interview: Ciara Phillips

IMAGE/ Ciara Phillips, Just You, 2014   Ciara Phillips is a busy woman. Shortlisted for the Turner Prize almost exactly a year ago, she has since undertaken a number of projects including several group exhibitions, an upcoming exhibition in Stockholm and a career in teaching. She was kind enough to meet with me to discuss […]

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Review: The Argonauts

IMAGE/ wavepoetry   In an interview, Maggie Nelson once explained the thinking behind her distinctive style of writing: “Leaning against other texts, thinking with other minds, letting another person’s writing (or art, or being) haunt you, inhabit you, inspire you, bother you, quite thoroughly, isn’t just a means of spurring one to produce thoughts or […]

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From the Grand Tour to Gap Yah

  The present day passion for travel, which is so abundant and so enthralling amongst the youth of today, is not an attitude that is by any means a modern one. Three hundred years ago, British students graduating from Oxford and Cambridge – or those of aristocratic, upper-class origin – were spurred by Latin literature, […]

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Paul Magrs: Magic and Mystery

PHOTO/ Paul Magrs   Paul Magrs is a versatile writer, to say the least. Over the course of his twenty-year career he has written a huge number of novels, short stories and radio plays, in genres as wide-ranging as literary fiction, magical realism, horror, and even Doctor Who spin-off fiction. He has also recently branched […]

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The Trouble with Reading Lists

  I’ve always liked to read. My theory is that this habit was developed in order to make up for my dyslexic elder brother’s intense dislike of books – those he was given for Christmas and birthdays tending to be passed to me for fast consumption. Music for A-Level, as many agree, is a bit […]

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