The pursuit of gender justice

Men have lower life expectancy than women, and significantly higher suicide rates. They are more likely to be the victims of violence and are falling behind educationally. Certain “male” behaviors that used to be acceptable no longer are. Many feel lost and even demonized in what they see as an “feminized” culture. This sense of … Read more

The less deceived

“We shall have stamped our taste on the age between us at the end.” So boasted Philip Larkin in 1974, of his and Kingsley Amis’s influence on English literary culture. The occasion of the boast was Amis’s invitation to edit The New Oxford Book of Light Verse (1978), the successor to WH Auden’s edition of … Read more

Glory, turmoil and freedom?

Postwar Modern opens with an unofficial announcement of the end of war: the unforgettable photograph of Lee Miller taking a bath in Hitler’s tub. On arriving in Munich, she and her fellow war photographer David Scherman had wrangled a billet in a house where the 45th Division had set up a command post. Apparently, the … Read more

Getting history wrong

This uncompromising novel denies its readers many of the pleasures of fiction. More concerned with the ambiguity of ideas than with clarity of plot or character, it is a heartfelt celebration of the life of the mind – though its defiance is qualified by the wryness we would expect from Julian Barnes. Neil, the narrator, … Read more


THE LITERARY CONSULTANCY CELEBRATES ITS GROUND-BREAKING STORY WITH DANCE, POETRY, FILM, AND A LIVE PODCAST The in-person party, at London’s Fora Conservatory, is the high point in a year-round program of creative content and events from The Literary Consultancy (TLC) Testimonies of TLC’s impact are flooding in as a “digital kitchen table” collects anniversary wishes, … Read more

Steinbeck the magical realist

Of the quartet of American male modernist writers born on the threshold of the twentieth century – F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896), William Faulkner (1897), Ernest Hemingway (1899) and John Steinbeck (1902) – three would be awarded Pulitzer and Nobel prizes for literature (Fitzgerald would not). But despite his popularity with readers, critics have often considered … Read more

The Art of Not Giving In (Part Two)

The Second Coming of the North Surrey Gigantopithecus PREVIOUSLY, in The Art of Not Giving InI described how I went from abandoning my novel, The North Surrey Gigantopithecus in 2017 to being around to witness its publication by Unsung Stories in 2021 to some acclaim. I had seen the story as a voice exercise and … Read more

‘The fire is still alive’

On the back cover of Louise Gluck’s Poems 1962–2020 is a poem entitled “Nostos”, which ends with this couplet: “We look at the world once, in childhood. / The rest is memory.” Taken from Meadowlands (1996), it exemplifies a quality found throughout Glück’s fifty-eight-year oeuvre: hard-won wisdom in spare, penetrating language. This heavy book, published … Read more

Movement and Creativity – The Literary Consultancy

Creativity is an expression of the incredible marvel of being human. To move is to express this, and if you move every day you will deepen your relationship with creativity without even noticing it. Our relationship to creativity needs tender and steady attention to nurture it. Movement is sometimes included as a nice-to-have, optional wellbeing … Read more

A waltz through Vienna

Outside Austria, Heimito von Doderer is something of a cult author. His reputation rests mainly on two massive novels, Die Strudlhofstiege (1951; The Strudlhof Steps) and its even longer successor, Die Dämonen (1956; The Demons, 1961). The latter is already available in an English translation by Richard and Clara Winston, but Vincent Kling is the … Read more