Scroll for my ramblings on translation, books, writing and teaching

Book Review: John Burnside’s ‘Black Cat Bone’

I didn’t think I liked poetry, but I was wrong. If you’d have asked me one year ago whether I would like to sit down an read a single poem, let alone an entire poetry collection in one sitting, I would have laughed in your face. I’ve always loved novels, and the odd non-fiction history […]

Book Review: Elina Hirvonen’s ‘When I Forgot’

This book explores the lingering legacy of childhood trauma with sensitivity and flair. Translated from the Finnish by Douglas Robinson. The book includes a short bio of the translator on the inside cover, which is directly under the author’s bio and is even a few words longer! I am so happy. Well done Portobello books […]

Book Review: David Schalko’s ‘Bad Regina’

All I can think of is ‘you wrote a Bad Roman’ to the Lady Gaga tune. What’s this Bad Roman? What’s this Bad Roman? I don’t usually give up on a book I spent €15 on. But I had to give this one up. I had to. I got to page 123 and thought, Jesus […]

Book Review: Anne B. Ragde’s ‘Das Lügenhaus’

Creepy character development paints a convincing vignette of an estranged family with plenty of skeletons in the closet. Translated from the Norwegian to the German by Gabriele Haefs. I’m getting to the point now where I assume that anything I pick up originally written in a Scandinavian language is going to be an absolute cracker. […]

Book Review: James Wood’s ‘How Fiction Works’

Only just starting to date around the edges, this is an invaluable introduction to literature and the crafting of fiction. Overview I hadn’t had much contact with literary theory until this year. I’d studied German and History, and although I’d done a couple of literature modules in German, I’d never grappled with the grand timelines […]

What next for public protest in Russia?

Originally posted on Writings of Joshua:
The FSB, Russia’s own intelligence service, estimates that on the 23rd and 31st of January around 90,000 people took to the streets in countrywide protests. The trigger for this was the arrest and detention of anti-corruption blogger and opposition figure Alexei Navalny, an event which provided an opportunity for…

Book Review: Constance Maud’s ‘No Surrender’

A forgotten gem, but only if you adore Suffrage history. Synopsis This is a book with two protagonists: Jenny Clegg and Mary O’Neil – succinctly encapsulating the two distinct halves of the militant Suffrage movement: working and middle-class women. Jenny is a young mill worker from the North, and Mary is a middle-class woman from […]

Book Review: Jenni Murray’s ‘Votes for Women’

A charming selection of Suffrage biographies which does nothing to challenge the popular narrative on the Suffrage movement. Overview This is a standalone extract from a much longer book – A History of Britain in 21 Women. It gives brief biographies of six women involved in the Women’s Rights and Suffrage movements from the Victorian […]

Book Review: Algernon Blackwood’s ‘Roarings from Further Out’

From the genre literally called ‘weird fiction’, Blackwood’s creepy Edwardian, late-Gothic tales from beyond the veil between Heaven and Earth are best read by firelight in a deep leather armchair on a cold winter’s night. I like Gothic. I’ve read Dracula and some M.R James. Frankenstein is perpetually on my to-read list. I’ve grown up […]

Book Review: Fern Riddell’s ‘Death in Ten Minutes’

A non-fiction must-read for any angry feminist like myself. Higlights I have a special place in my heart for Fern Riddell. She’s part of a new wave of young, female historians who have brains and sass by the bucketload. Listening to her interview with Dan Snow on his History Hit podcast (an absolute favourite of […]


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