Book review: Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

There is a wall that seperates Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport from the neighbouring Annawadi slum in Mumbai. Along the wall are adverts for Italian floor tiles with the corporate slogan 'Beautiful Forever' running it's length. This extraordinary work of narrative non-fiction is about the slum dwellers of Annawadi residing behind the 'Beautiful Forever' wall, hidden and … Continue reading Book review: Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Book review: Tender Hooks by Moni Moshin

On the surface, Tender Hooks (also published as Duty Free) appears to be a light read, but it soon becomes clear that our nameless narrator’s naive judgements are vehicles for poking fun at the social norms governing Pakistan’s elite, and the inner workings of her closed circle of opinionated, Prada-wearing, back-stabbing friends. The stock subject … Continue reading Book review: Tender Hooks by Moni Moshin

Review: Count Arthur Strong, Somebody Up There Licks Me, Harrogate Theatre, March 2015

I absolutely love Count Arthur Strong. I discovered him on Radio 4 when I was doing my PhD – a wonderful distraction from the months of coding and analysis – and I’ve been a loyal fan ever since. During his Command Performance in 2012, I thought there wasn’t a wasted word or movement in the … Continue reading Review: Count Arthur Strong, Somebody Up There Licks Me, Harrogate Theatre, March 2015

A second wind for The Living Library

About a year ago, I thought I had given my final live reading from The Living Library. What a journey it had been: 2 years of working on a personal project, in between writing, researching and training full time was an ordeal. What started as a simple ‘might be nice to do this’ activity after … Continue reading A second wind for The Living Library

“Can you say something inspiring?” said the lovely lady from the library.

"Can you say something inspiring?" said the lovely lady from the library. "Er...inspiring? Er..." "Yes! You know, about your volunteering experience, and your library project and how it's helped your career?" "Er...I'll do my best." And here it is, an edited version of my 20 minute keynote speech at an event celebrating the achievements of young … Continue reading “Can you say something inspiring?” said the lovely lady from the library.

A small, excited audience with Jhumpa Lahiri

You could feel the excitement contained in the tiny 8th floor lobby at Broadcasting House. Thirty of us had gathered to listen to the Pulitzer prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri – a woman whose short stories are so powerful and evocative that you believe she is writing about your own life – being interviewed by Harriett … Continue reading A small, excited audience with Jhumpa Lahiri

Review: Danny Bhoy’s boutique gig, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Oct 2012

“Wow, this is intimate. More of a workshop. A boutique gig,” said the smiley, gangly comedian as he sauntered onto the stage. True enough, this wasn’t the sell out crowd that he’s used to, but then “Tuesday’s always a bad day for comedy.” We first saw Danny Bhoy 11 years ago, at his first Edinburgh … Continue reading Review: Danny Bhoy’s boutique gig, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Oct 2012