Population growth and CO2

Just read the January/February issue of the New Internationalist, and was depressed at first to see the title “The population panic” on the cover. But it turned out to be a very well-researched series of articles, showing that a lot…

“Commonwealth Short Stories”, part 4

In the final part of this series of posts, I’m reviewing stories by Mavis Gallant, V.S. Naipaul, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Hal Porter and Chinua Achebe. Mavis Gallant (Canada) – Orphans’ Progress According to the introduction, Gallant’s work mostly deals with…

“Commonwealth Short Stories”, part 3

Continuing the series, here are my notes on the short stories by Randolph Stow, Janet Frame, Andrew Salkey and Ezekiel Mphahlele. Randolph Stow (Australia) – Magic This is based on the ‘sulumwoya’ myth of the Trobriand Islands, where incest between…

“Commonwealth Short Stories”, Part 1

There are some excellent stories in here, from big names like V.S. Naipaul, Patrick White,  George Lamming, Chinua Achebe and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (although this book is so old he is credited as James Ngugi, his birth name which he…

New publication: Quarter Passed

I’ve got an essay included in the new book Quarter Passed, published in the USA by Twenty Stories Publishing. It’s a compilation of stories, essays, poems and photographs by twenty-somethings from around the world (27 countries to be precise). I…

Payback

Many people in Britain have been wondering for the last few years exactly what we get out of the “special relationship” with the United States. We go along with Afghanistan, we go along with Iraq, we go along with anything.…

Remembering Haymarket

I am often too cynical for my own good. So I am taking time to reflect on the fact that on 1st May 1886, thousands of workers in Chicago went on strike to demand an eight-hour day. The police attacked…