Interviews

Battle of the heart: Was war poet Rupert Brooke a closet heterosexual?

The Independent on Sunday 25th January 2009 Over the past three years, Jill Dawson has been involved with another man. The Fens-based author candidly admits her feelings were so intense that she once signed her name “Rupert” instead of “Ruby”, the nickname used by her family. Rupert is Rupert Brooke,
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Melvyn Bragg: I just don’t want to go there

The Independent on Sunday 22nd February 2009 Behind the charm, the soft Cumbrian lilt, the flashing smile and twinkling eyes, something darker festers in Melvyn Bragg, award-winning broadcaster, acclaimed novelist and ennobled member of the Labour elite. Despite the success and celebrity, the dapper grammar school boy from working-class Wigton
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Me and Mao: How Xinran got China talking about the Cultural Revolution

The Independent on Sunday 19th October 2008 A year ago the Chinese journalist and historian Xinran returned to China. She was there to research her latest oral history, China Witness, a collection of interviews given by grandparents and great-grandparents. She took the opportunity to visit her mother, from whom she
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Slaughter by write

Discomfort felt towards women writing graphic descriptions of sexual abuse reflects, Slaughter maintains, a wider sexism that refuses to tolerate women reacting to violent trauma on their own terms. “If you look at crime fiction in the Eighties, women were there just to be screwed and put upon,” the 37-year-old observes. “They were either madonnas or whores. If they were sexually abused, the guy had to save her. When women write about violent crime the woman saves herself – or doesn’t in some cases.”
She cites the number of people who talk about violence against women in her books, while violence against men goes largely ignored. There is one exception however: when she wrote about a male rape in Triptych, she had men stop her in the street saying they couldn’t read about it. “I would say, ‘So you didn’t mind reading when women were going through this?’”

Siren Voices Lure Animation Fans

“It’s been great,” confirms Revelations’ PR as she leads me to the actors. “Though not been as mad as last time.” When FUNimation stable-mate Vic Mignona, Clinkenbeard’s and Bailey’s co-star in Full Metal Alchemist, attended the convention in May, the PR had a job making his teenage fans keep their clothes on. “He had girls trying to strip for him to autograph their bodies,” the PR says.
“Were they never going to wash again?” I ask. Judging from the fans swarming from stand to stand like black-eyed locus, perhaps they never did.

Lesley Lokko: ‘Don’t ask me about ‘black culture’, I don’t know what it is’

“What is ‘black culture’? I don’t know”, and harks back to that flight from Accra to Gatwick when she was 17. “I have as much in common with someone from Nigeria as someone from Beijing. We are never expected to understand our cultural particularities. If you start off from this broad meaningless category, I don’t understand how you can extract meaning from it.” It is an issue she hopes her work tackles in a way that reaches beyond a handful of academics or the narrow confines of “literary fiction”. “Fiction for me, growing up in Ghana, was this way to see another world,” she says. “I think that is important and is what the best fiction does.”

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