REVIEW: Bart Van Es, The Cut Out Girl

The hushed, muffled whispers echoing around the Gala Theatre as I enter for Bart Van Es’ talk on The Cut Out Girl are enough to tell me that this is going to be an intimate discussion. His novel follows the story of Lien, a Jewish girl who was taken by Van Es’ grandparents’ family during the Nazi occupation of Holland in World War Two. The subsequent sensitive nature of the background to the novel leaves me in anticipation. How will Van Es handle these sensitive issues in his discussion? Van Es

REVIEW: Philip Goff, Galileo’s Error

In the exquisite Burlison Gallery the daylight seeps through the window of Durham Town Hall. Philip Goff, philosophy professor at Durham University, prepares to enlighten us with his new approach to consciousness centered around pan-psychism. This theory argues that consciousness is a fundamental feature of all matter, not just made up of biological entities. Goff has written Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness in an attempt to make philosophical theory accessible to

Read and Think: the reading list race

Studying an English Literature degree at Durham University, I always assumed I would be a prolific reader. Yet, in my three years, I’ve come to realise this is not necessarily the case. In fact, if you want me to be really honest, I often find myself getting distracted and putting down a book, far more often than I’m picking one up. The frustration of reading all day, sometimes academic articles, Palatinate articles, BBC news articles about the Corona Virus or Boris’ reaction to it (“wash your

Letter to my first year self: graduate reflections

We asked three 2020 graduates to write a short letter to their first year selves, to reflect and consider how they have grown and share the lessons they have learnt over the years at university. Last term was unlike any other, especially for finalists – the goodbyes, graduations and closure were all interrupted. We wanted to give a space for a few finalists to think and reflect on their time at Durham. Dear First Year Lotte, Looking back, there’s so many things I’d love to say now. But I’ve

Finding a ‘Space to Create’ with Ben Irvine

As I sit down with Ben Irvine to discuss his self-published book Space to Create: A Writer’s View on the Housing Crisis in a sleepy café in Durham, I am slightly apprehensive. He seems highly aware his book isn’t something you would find on the shelf in Waterstones. I know very little about the housing crisis and politics, two key topics he investigates in this memoir. Irvine assures me this is not a problem. When I press him on the ideal audience for his book, he is certain it is for “intellec

The Importance of Anthropocene Fiction

Whether we realise it or not, we are now in the period of the anthropocene. By this we mean the new geological age where our world has become anthropocentric rather than ecocentric. The earth is currently seen as a resource for human exploitation which is exacerbating climate change. Novels which seek to show us the results of the anthropocene, present us with the possible future world we could live in, albeit at times seemingly very far removed from our own. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, famousl

Durham Book Festival: David Nicholls ‘Sweet Sorrow’

I entered the Gala Theatre in a bubble of excitement and anticipation. When I think of David Nicholls, author and screenwriter, I immediately think One Day, Us or Starter for Ten to name just a few of his bestsellers. Nicholls spends the next hour talking eloquently yet openly with Claire Malcolm on the bulb-lit stage. Durham Book Festival is part of a tour for his latest novel Sweet Sorrow. This coming-of-age tale follows sixteen-year-old Charlie in the summer of 1997, as he navigates a web of

Review: Jessica Andrews ‘Saltwater’

There is so much about Jessica Andrew’s debut novel Saltwater which I love. I don’t know if it’s the northern girl hunting for more or the cityscapes and the yearning of a female body within them that speaks to me. But probably all of the above. I first came across Andrew’s prose when my student newspaper were asked to review the nominations for the Portico Prize (she won, with this novel, by the way). As soon as I read about Saltwater, even just from some scant google searches I knew they we

Self-isolating? Here’s some comfort reads

It’s been a very long time since I wrote on this blog. Initially, I started it as a hobby before I went to university. Since then, I am now twenty-one years old and have decided to study English Literature as my undergraduate degree. I absolutely love it! If you happen to be stuck in the house, with little to do, here’s a post for you to read or even better, some books you could get stuck into. Blackwell’s just emailed me to say they’re closing their stores, but you can order online with them f

Review: Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, Cocktails with Capote and Breakfast at Tiffany’s screening

Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott certainly knows how to grab the attention of her audience. She speaks with great vivacity and passion about a subject that is clearly very close to her heart as I bustle into The Gala Theatre for her event ‘Cocktails with Capote’. Truman Capote was a prolific American author from the 1950s to the 1980s. With his passion for partying, martinis and stylish escapades he befriended notable women and made them famous through his narratives. Greenberg-Jephcott tells the au