"Our technology has outpaced us to the degree that human understanding is no longer at the centre of it." Olivia Sudjic
November 2013
Mementoes of JFK

Mementoes of JFK

The assassination of John F. Kennedy on 22 November 1963 has become a cliché. We are overfamiliar with the Zapruder footage of the moment of his death in a way inconceivable to those who lived through it. Fifty years ago, “where were you when Kennedy died?” was a question to inspire hushed conversation about a...
Rosa Rankin-Gee: Echoes from the island

Rosa Rankin-Gee: Echoes from the island

Rosa Rankin-Gee’s wonderfully accomplished debut novel The Last Kings of Sark explores a friendship triangle developed over an intense summer on Sark island with repercussions that last for years. Emma Young catches up with her. The Last Kings of Sark won Shakespeare & Company’s inaugural Paris Literary Prize in 2011. Extremely-belated congratulations – I suspect...
Literature in your lifetime… and beyond

Literature in your lifetime… and beyond

The printed ‘book’ – a physical thing made up of paper, type, ink and board – has been around now for over 500 years. It has served literature wonderfully: packaging it in cheap (sometimes beautiful) forms that have helped to sustain mass literacy. Few inventions have lasted longer, or done more good. The book may,...
Cheryl Strayed: Once upon a time in the wild

Cheryl Strayed: Once upon a time in the wild

I meet Cheryl Strayed in the offices of her British publisher in Russell Square. She joins me after a breakfast script meeting with Nick Hornby, who is adapting her global bestseller Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found for the big screen. Her excitement about the movie is palpable. Strayed shot to global fame in...
Freedom of sorts

Freedom of sorts

Naples was in the throes of the ‘plague’. Every afternoon at five o’clock, after half an hour with the punching-ball and a hot shower in the gymnasium of the P.B.S. – Peninsular Base Section – Colonel Jack Hamilton and I would walk down in the direction of San Ferdinando, elbowing our way through the unruly...
Thread

Thread

She is in the labyrinth again. Darkness is seeping through her nostrils, into the corners of her mouth, around the edges of her eyeballs, trying to reach right inside. She pushes against it, one hand thrusting forward into the swell of shadows, the other behind her, closed around the unravelling spool. Each step costs all...
Save the Story

Save the Story

‘Save the Story’ is a library of favourite stories from around the world, retold for today’s children by some of the best contemporary writers. Each book is beautifully illustrated and accompanied by an author’s afterword describing its origin. The series was conceived by Alessandro Barricco, working in close collaboration with Scuola Holden in Turin, which...
Dedicated to...

Dedicated to…

The right book, given to the right person at the right time, can work wonders.* Spirits can be raised and horizons broadened; broken hearts can be mended, old flames rekindled, friendships reaffirmed. A book can say Sorry, and Thank You. A book can say I miss you, I love you, I forgive you; I never...
Oscar Zarate's urban oasis

Oscar Zarate’s urban oasis

The tranquillity of a glorious early summer day on Hampstead Heath is interrupted when an angry blogger and a timid musician get embroiled in a tit-for-tat spat that threatens to escalate into a fractious but comical revenge drama worthy of Laurel and Hardy. So begins Oscar Zarate’s beautifully drawn graphic novel The Park, which charts...
The (S)crapbook tour

The (S)crapbook tour

I was nervous about embarking on the promotional book tour for several reasons. Firstly, the book that I’m promoting is rubbish. I suppose a lot of foxes don’t even get around to writing a book, so in that respect I should give myself a pat on the back, but even when you consider that, it’s...