… Among several other things, the UK lockdown has drastically changed the way in which we consume media, including literature. Historically, periods of major political and social upheaval have shaped literature, with literary movements reflecting and reacting to times of societal and economic stress and change. … Though it may take several years before we are able to clearly see how this global crisis will spark and influence literary movements, three prominent threads have already emerged from our pandemic reading that may hint at trends we can anticipate over the next few decades…
May 2, 2016 | Louise Adams.
In a moving passage of Dickens’ novel, the ill-treated David Copperfield remembers ‘sitting on my bed, reading as if for life’. His words capture an experience of reading that will be familiar to many – one of freedom and fulfilment. By engaging with books we escape our immediate circumstances, broaden our horizons, and discover ourselves more fully.
March 21, 2016 | Adam Clay .
You might think that poetry is for schools and universities, for students and teachers, not for you and your busy job. But what if you found out that poetry also belongs where life-or-death situations happen every day, in a place with white coats, stethoscopes, and beepers? If you learnt that poetry is also for the contemporary hospital, for nurses, patients, and doctors, would you be willing to consider that poetry might be for everyone – including you?
February 15, 2016 | Sarah Stewart.
Gardens are a cultural staple the world over. You would be hard put to find a major world religion in which gardens do not feature; the sheer multitude of garden-related metaphors you hear everyday are testament to our language’s continuing reliance on concepts born in gardens, not to mention the prevalence of the garden in literary and artistic traditions. For millennia, gardens have been reflections of divine order on earth; spaces to display status, but, fundamentally, they are places where people negotiate with the land, and other people, in order to thrive. Given their global relevance, what potential do gardens and gardening have to bridge barriers between cultures and people of vast differences in background and experience? Between, say, established British citizens and asylum seekers and refugees?
[tw: discussions of torture]