In 2015, Inua Ellams was poet in residence at the Poetry Library at the Southbank Centre in London. His #Afterhours project took him on a voyage of cultural translation and transposition through time and place, to the heart of the libraries archive collections, and through his own life s story as he selected poems published during each year of his life, from birth to the age of 18.
In return, Ellams opens up a captivating and potent dialogue between poems, writing a diary and intricately-crafted poems of his own in conversational response to the poems he selected from the library collections. Here, for the first time together, are the collected #Afterhours poems alongside the re-discovered poems which inspired them and the diary entries which follow this journey. In Ellams meticulous hands, this becomes an entire narrative in its own right, compelling and magnetic, drawing parallels of displacement, language and reclamation, and showing poetry’s great capacity to be a powerful amplifier of human experience.
1979. It is the winter of discontent, and reporter Allie Burns is chasing her first big scoop. There are few women in the newsroom and she needs something explosive for the boys’ club to take her seriously.
Soon Allie and fellow journalist Danny Sullivan are exposing the criminal underbelly of respectable Scotland. They risk making powerful enemies — and Allie won’t stop there.
When she discovers a home-grown terrorist threat, Allie comes up with a plan to infiltrate the group and make her name. But she’s a woman in a man’s world… and putting a foot wrong could be fatal.
This is the atmospheric, heart-pounding first novel in a gripping new series by Queen of Crime Val McDermid.
Winston Churchill’s political career spanned over 50 years, during which time he was alternately at the centre of power and out of favour. He is most remembered for his inspirational leadership in the second world war and his rousing speeches urging Britain to fight on. This book reveals the influences that shaped his life and career and looks at his strengths and weaknesses.
Quotation panels, featuring many of Churchill’s well-known sayings and comments, and the opinions of his well-known contemporaries, such as Stalin, are scattered liberally throughout. The final chapter examines his legacy and attempts to answer the question: how justifiable is his reputation in view of his achievements?
The 52 project started with a simple idea: Write a poem a week. Start now. Keep going. It became a phenomenon. Hundreds of poets took up the challenge and their poems swept the board of poetry prizes, publications and personal successes. This book brings together the 52 prompts written by poet Jo Bell and by guest poets ranging from David Morley to Rachael Boast, so that you can pick up the challenge yourself. With contemporary poems to illustrate each prompt, it’s a fine anthology as well as a book of lively and engaging exercises for poets, whether beginner or well-established.
She was ten years old, but knew enough to wipe clean the handle of the bloody kitchen knife. The night was stifling; the windows were closed, sealing in the chaos. A table upturned, shattered crockery. Her distraught mother, bare shoulders raw with welts, knelt beside her motionless father. The child snatched up her backpack, and ran…
London sweats in the height of summer. The parched city has slowed to a claustrophobic shuffle and there’s no end in sight. Heroin-addicted investigator Catherine Berlin hides her scars from prying eyes while working on the worst of all cases: matrimonial.
The capital’s junkies suffer from a drought of a different kind. A strung-out ghost from Berlin’s past turns up on her doorstep with a desperate plea for help: her ten-year-old daughter is missing. Reminded of a debt owed, Berlin agrees to help, but the search becomes far deadlier than she could ever imagine, drawing her deep into an underworld of corrupt detectives, ruthless drug dealers, and a child killer…
A Bitter Taste is the thrilling second instalment in the magnificent crime series featuring civilian investigator Catherine Berlin, whose long-standing heroin addiction is only part of her story.
Meet Monsieur Benoit, who appeared suddenly in Paris with a scheme for telegraphing messages across the world (or, at least, across the room) by means of electricity and the telepathic power of snails, and actually raised the money to build this extraordinary machine.
His powers of persuasion clearly exceeded those of Colonel Baker, who seemed the personification of Victorian solidity until that embarrassing incident in the sealed railway compartment, where he failed to entice Miss Dickinson to join in his bit of fun, and afterwards had to try and explain his conduct to the High Court, with the whole nation hanging on his every word.
Here is a fascinating collection of some of history’s most extraordinary characters. Richard Glyn Jones has cast his net wide to gather these accounts of human oddity and eccentricity, and the standard of his writing is high, with Lytton Strachey, Derek Hudson, Christopher Sykes and Ronald Knox among the authors included. Hilariously funny, sometimes rather sad, but invariably interesting, this is a superbly diverting book. And, with a couple of tiny exceptions, it’s all true.
Organ donation is in its infancy and Daisy Howard, who is giving a kidney to her aunt, is in the hands of a pioneering surgeon. After the operation, Daisy is desperate to get back to her family, yet the days go by and she remains in the hospital; meanwhile, an old friend keeps visiting with news of home, and Daisy becomes increasingly uneasy.
A Fold in the Map charts two very different voyages: a tracing of the dislocations of leaving one’s native country, and a searching exploration of grief at a father’s final painful journey. In the first part of the collection, Plenty — “before the fold” — the poems deal with family, and longing for home from a new country, with all the ambiguity and doubleness this perspective entails. In the book’s second half, Meet My Father, the poems recount events more life-changing than merely moving abroad — a father’s illness and death, the loss of some of the plenty of the earlier poems.
“Italian writer and director Pier Paolo Pasolini once wrote that if a poet doesn’t manage to scare his readers anymore, then it would be better for him to run away from this world. What kind of use can in fact be a tamed poet to the human race? Apparently, Dan Fante knows this well: his first collection of poems by the unpronounceable title, A Gin Pissing, Raw Meat, Dual Carburattor V-8 Son-of-a-Bitch from Los Angeles, shows that he literally aims with his works not only to scare, but also to scar his readers, biting their minds, hearts and souls with his words: indeed, Dan Fante’s poems are a poetic ebb and flow revolving on the readers conscience…” – Erasing Clouds
An exquisite collection from a poet at the peak of her powers, A God at the Door spans time and space, drawing on the extraordinary minutiae of nature and humanity to elevate the marginalised. Extending the territory of her zeitgeist collection Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods, these new poems traverse history, from the cosmic to the everyday. There is a playful spikiness to be found in poems like ‘Why the Brazilian Butt Lift Won’t Save Us’, while others, such as ‘I Found a Village and in it Were All Our Missing Women’, are fed by rage. As the collection unfolds, there are gem-like poems such as ‘I Carry My Uterus in a Small Suitcase’ which sparkles on the page with impeccable precision. Later, there are the sharp shocks delivered by two mirrored poems set side by side, ‘Microeconomics’ and ‘Macroeconomics’. Tishani Doshi’s poetry deploys beauty to heal trauma, enabling the voices of the oppressed to be heard with piercing clarity. From flightless birds and witches, to black holes and Marilyn Monroe, A God at the Door illuminates with lines and images that surprise, inflame and dazzle.
As art critic of The Spectator, Andrew Lambirth’s reviews and articles have been entertaining and informing readers of the magazine since 1996. As he himself has written : “The coverage that this magazine, a weekly, gives to the arts is far wider than many daily newspapers. I wish more arts editors would take the initiative to cover a greater range of exhibitions than just the obvious.”
Love is in the air in the little village of Barton-in-the-Dale. Anyone can see that Ashley Underwood and Emmet O’Malley are made for each other. They’ve just got to admit it to themselves . . . But as the saying goes, the course of true love never did run smooth.
While romance blossoms on one side of the village, an angry young boy struggles to believe in love. But when tragedy strikes, he learns that comfort and care can come from the most unexpected of places.
Meanwhile, head teacher Elisabeth Stirling faces a new challenge for the start of the school year. An eccentric teacher joins the staff, and there’s also a worrying case of potential negligence to answer. In the village too, a puritanical new vicar stirs up trouble. But as always, mixed in with the drama there’s plenty of gossip, laughter, friendship – and love – in Barton-in-the-Dale.
Television’s most popular car show presenter lives his life in the shadow of his career and his persona. He has the perfect job. He doesn’t have the perfect family. His wife retches in the bathrooms of exclusive restaurants; his daughter’s obsession with a friend is consuming her; his son lives a double life selling pornography by day and gaming on-line by night. The presenter views his family from the outside and watches as they slowly disintegrate in front of him, unable to control anything that is not scripted. Socrates Adams perfectly mirrors what magazines sell to their readers in a bleak, satirical look at what modern families might think they want to be.
Practical tips for living a truly better life in a precarious economy:
Live better on less and have more fun doing it! This book offers hardcore, real-world, practical advice on how anyone can survive in a precarious economy. Learn useful tips and creative strategies, from a hardworking musician who, like most professional musicians, knows, from hard-won experience, how to not only keep the annoying wolf from the door, but how to give him a painful wedgie, so he’ll finally give up and leave you the f*&k alone.
Frances Howard has beauty and a powerful family – and is the most unhappy creature in the world.
Anne Turner has wit and talent – but no stage on which to display them. Little stands between her and the abyss of destitution.
When these two very different women meet in the strangest of circumstances, a powerful friendship is sparked. Frankie sweeps Anne into a world of splendour that exceeds all she imagined: a Court whose foreign king is a stranger to his own subjects; where ancient families fight for power, and where the sovereign’s favourite may rise and rise – so long as he remains in favour.
With the marriage of their talents, Anne and Frankie enter this extravagant, savage hunting ground, seeking a little happiness for themselves. But as they gain notice, they also gain enemies; what began as a search for love and safety leads to desperate acts that could cost them everything.
Based on the true scandal that rocked the court of James I, A Net for Small Fishes is the most gripping novel you’ll read this year: an exhilarating dive into the pitch-dark waters of the Jacobean court.
In 2013, Leanne O’Sullivan’s husband Andrew suffered a severe infection in his brain. He spent just over three weeks in a coma, during which time his temperature soared to 42 degrees. When he finally woke it immediately became clear that his memory had been almost completely destroyed; he didn’t even know his wife. More present and visual to him were the birds and wild animals that he believed he could see during his recovery: foxes, wildcats and herons – animals that seemed to be guiding him back.
This became the starting point for poems that deal not simply with personal memory and recovery, but also the ways in which, collectively, even globally, we are trying (or not) to save entire species of plants and animals that we are now actually losing because of human activity. Nature has a voice that can speak back. This is a collection that celebrates the earth’s intoxicating wildness as well as the richness and preciousness of human experience. Overall, we can rejoice in the fact that we’re here, whatever the challenges.
Winner of the inaugural Farmgate Café National Poetry Award 2019
Shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award 2019 and for the Pigott Poetry Prize 2019 in association with Listowel Writers’ Week
Maura Dooley was Poet-in-Residence at Jane Austen s home in Chawton, Hampshire. The house, now a museum, is where Austen wrote most of her novels. These poems offer glimpses of Austen’s still potent presence in the modest house in which, at a tiny table, she wrote her greatest works.
Born into a Roma family in 1960s’ Yugoslavia, Janek Hudorovec has grown up with a terrible secret. Given the opportunity to ‘make something of himself’, he abandons the familiar wild and tactile world of nature and enters the controlled, rational life of university and the city. Here Janek proves himself to be not a conscious rebel but a spontaneous one; under the influences of impulses he cannot control. While his teachers try to understand and categorize him, it is only his fellow student, Daria, who seems able to provide a rational insight into the causes of his behaviour and offer him true affection. Yet the battle that Janek must fight with his past leads him back to the gypsy village, and a terrible denouement. This tragic story of self-punishment explores the idea that man and nature, if they are to survive, together and separately, must forever remain in conflict. Flisar’s ability to describe Janek’s inner states through juxtaposition with the outer world create a mesmerizing claustrophobia, as the reader is pulled inexorably into the nightmarish world of a man in anguish. A Swarm of Dust is widely considered to be one of Flisar’s finest works of fiction, questioning the very notion of objective truth and subverting the norms of Judeo-Christian morality.
“A Traveller’s History of Cyprus” offers a complete and authoritative history of the island’s past and also touches on the sensitive present-day issues for both sides of the island. Although Cyprus is a relatively small island, its position in the East Mediterranean has always given it strategic importance beyond its size. Well-placed for travel from all over the globe with plenty of sunshine throughout the year, Cyprus has become a favored tourist destination. All visitors, whether to the Greek or Turkish side of the island, discover the immensely rich history, which has resulted in so many civilizations making their mark upon its soil. With a historical gazetteer, chronology of major events, index, bibliography and historical and contemporary maps, this book is an invaluable companion to students or visitors to the island.
In A Traveller’s History of Greece, the reader is provided with an authoritative general history of Greece from its earliest beginnings down to the present day. It covers in a clear and comprehensive manner the classical past, the conflict with Persia, the conquest by the Romans, the Byzantine era and the occupation by the Turks; the struggle for independence and the turbulence of recent years, right up to current events. This history will help the visitor make sense of modern Greece against the background of its diverse heritage. Illustrated with maps and line drawings, A Traveller’s History of Greece is an invaluable companion for your vacation.
This is a definitive concise history of Portugal, from its earliest beginnings right up to the politics and life of the present day. It was not until the twelfth century that Portugal became a country in its own right, having been a Roman colony and then having suffered both Barbarian and Islamic invasions. The golden age of discoveries, the reign and foresight of Henry the Navigator, and great seamen such as Vasco da Gama led to the founding of Portugal’s empire and wealth. Troubled times followed: in 1755 Lisbon was virtually leveled by the ‘Great Earthquake,’ and the country had hardly recovered its former prosperity when it was overrun by Napoleon’s troops at the start of the Peninsular War, to be followed not long after by the Miguelite civil war. The middle decades of the nineteenth century saw the Port Wine trade flourishing, and further expansion into Africa. During the last quarter of the twentieth century, ever since the bloodless revolution of 1974 overthrew the rightwing dictatorship of Salazar, the country has regained its stability, and now takes its rightful place in the European Community. Illustrated with maps and line drawings, the book has a full Historical Gazetteer cross-referenced to the main text that concentrates on the historic sites in a country that has retained its individuality and thus its appeal to the individual traveler.
Throughout the millennia Turkey formed the core of several Empires–Persia, Rome, Byzantium–before becoming the center of the Ottoman Empire. All these civilizations have left their marks on the landscape, architecture and art of Turkey–a place of fascinating overlapping cultures. Traveller’s History of Turkey offers a concise and readable account of the region from prehistory right up to the present day. It covers everything from the legendary Flood of Noah, the early civilization of Catal Huyuk seven thousand years before Christ, through the treasures of Troy, Alexander the Great, the Romans, Seljuks, Byzantines and the Golden Age of the Sultans, to the twentieth century’s great changes wrought by Kemal Ataturk and the strong position Turkey now holds in the world community.
A Vertical Art gathers the expansive and spirited public lectures delivered by Simon Armitage during his acclaimed four-year tenure as Oxford University Professor of Poetry. Armitage tries to identify a ‘common sense’ approach to an artform that can lend itself to grand statements and vacuous gestures, questioning both the facile and obscure ends of the poetry spectrum, asserting certain fundamental qualities that separate the genre from near-neighbours such as prose and song lyrics, examining who poetry is written for and its values and use in contemporary society. Above all, these are personal essays that enquire into the volatile and disputed definitions of poetry from the point of view of a dedicated reader, a practising writer and a lifelong champion of its power and potential.
A Watchful Astronomy by Paul Deaton is the thoughtful debut poetry collection by this already well-regarded author who has published his work in national magazines like The Spectator, and London Magazine as well as in more literary journals like the PN Review. A Watchful Astronomy has a distinctive flavour. The author is a realist and a formalist, preferring simple, accurate language and use of formal meter. This makes for unusually clear and accessible work. A powerful underlying current of emotion also drives these poems and is contained and restrained by the more austere formal qualities. The book is haunted by the ghost of the author’s father, a figure that appears throughout the collection as an overbearing, even threatening presence, embodied in glowering mountain ranges, in icy blasts of weather, in bits of bleak, monosyllabic dialogue. It is to the author’s credit that grudging admiration for the father’s practical skills (‘Shoemaker Father’), and a profound and lingering sense of compassion overcome what could be obdurate (if understandable) resentment. Nature is also a prime factor and facilitator in this book, both rural and urban scenes are beautifully observed and presented. There is a gift for the visceral here, for tastes and sounds. There is a tendency to describe liminal scenes and moods: dusk, a sleepless hour, a view from a precipice, a changing mood. A rigorous intelligence meets an adept sensitivity in these poems by this already accomplished as well as promising poet.
“And I struggle to find my place in this dark novel. I yearn for passion and despair for that is what makes good literature while Ishwari seeks a life of joy for herself and her son.”
A powerful novel about a woman who runs away from home, seeking to free herself from the shackles of society and familial attachments, and instead devote her attentions to writing a novel. When she realises that her five year old son Roo has followed her, Ishwari struggles with her identity as a mother and the responsibilities that brings, versus the guilty knowledge that she cannot want her own child when his existence requires her to suppress her own dreams.
Ishwari and Roo wander the streets at night, looking for a place to stay, until an elderly caretaker takes pity on them and offers them an empty room on the terrace of a guest house. Ishwari gets work as a caregiver to the handsome gentleman who lives next door, while Roo, who is lame, spends all day locked up in the room on the roof. Pulsating with raw energy, Abandon gives voice to the perpetual conflict between life and art.
When Matt leaves his kindergarten class for a quick trip to the bathroom, he never imagines what will happen next. He suddenly finds himself in a stranger’s car, being driven to an unfamiliar place. Who is this man, and is he really a stranger? When the school bell rings and Matt is nowhere to be found, his frantic sister, Bonnie, realises that her little brother is not lost but missing. She must do everything in her power to save him, even if it puts her own life in danger…
“This is the first time we are seeing… a conversation about defunding, and some people having a conversation about abolishing the police and prison state. This must be what it felt like when people were talking about abolishing slavery.” – Patrisse Cullors, Black Lives Matter.
Abolishing the Police (An Illustrated Introduction) is both a contribution to this conversation and an invitation to join it. It provides rigorous and accessible analyses of why we might want to abolish the police, what abolishing them would involve, and how it might be achieved, introducing readers to the rich existing traditions of anti-police theory and practice.
Its authors draw on their diverse on-the-ground experiences of political organising, protest, and resistance to policing in the UK, France, Germany, and the United States, as well as their original research in academic fields ranging from law to security studies, political theory to sociology to public health.
Without assuming any prior specialist knowledge, they present the critical tools and insights these disciplines have to offer to ongoing struggles against the injustices of policing (and consider, in turn, what these disciplines must learn from these struggles.)
With Jacques-Louis Daguerre, William Talbot Fox, Etienne Jules-Marey and William Blake as his predecessors, Adam Fuss creates photograms and daguerreotypes that evoke a general poetic and spiritual vision akin to urbanites of the 1800s, people who have lost contact with nature and God. While technically seeking to refine the beginnings of photography, Fuss attempts, in the 100 new works presented here, to record life and death. Colorful spirals created by pendulums lead into great depths; snakes create geometric waves in water; loving pairs of rabbits appear in silhouette; a hunched woman cries; sunflowers sprout withered leaves and broken stems; otherwise placid water bears the concentric marks of water drops; the shadows of silvery children’s clothing hover in mid-air; light reflects on birds in flight–and all, for Fuss, mark the simultaneous presence and absence of the corporeal under the title My Ghost.
In a momentous publication, Seamus Heaney’s translation of Book VI of the Aeneid, Virgil’s epic poem composed sometime between 29 and 19 BC, follows the hero, Aeneas, on his descent into the underworld.
In Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O’Driscoll, Heaney acknowledged the importance of the poem to his writing, noting that ‘there’s one Virgilian journey that has indeed been a constant presence, and that is Aeneas’s venture into the underworld.
‘The motifs in Book VI have been in my head for years – the golden bough, Charon’s barge, the quest to meet the shade of the father.’ In this new translation, Heaney employs the same deft handling of the original combined with the immediacy of language and flawless poetic voice as was on show in his translation of Beowulf, a reimagining which, in the words of Bernard O’Donoghue, brought the ancient poem back to life in ‘a miraculous mix of the poem’s original spirit and Heaney’s voice’.
‘Patience, Firmness, and Perseverance were my only weapons.’
Agnes Grey (1847) was Anne Bronte’s first novel and a poignant account of her own experience as a struggling governess, obliged to earn her living in one of the few ways open to an educated Victorian girl. Agnes is not a romantic heroine such as those we find in the books of Anne’s sisters Charlotte and Emily, but her story paints a more realistic picture of what happens when an intelligent, sensitive young woman has to endure months of isolation and frustration in an unsympathetic household that is not her home.