Jonathan Stroud is the author of the hugely successful Bartimaeus trilogy, about a djinni and the young magician who summons him. His latest book, Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase, is set in an alternate society in which a mysterious ghost epidemic has infested Britain. Adults cannot see the ghosts, so young people are hired to track them down and vanquish them.
David Frum has had a go at Catch-22, one of my favourite books. Only on re-reading it in middle age does he seem to have realised that Yossarian’s view of the Second World War is corrosively cynical.
A long, louche country house party loaded with literary discussion and liberally lubricated with gin
As England plays host to the largest Shakespeare festival in history, are the Bard’s works wholly relevant in this modern age?
Sex, lies and betrayal hardly seem unfamiliar to the morning headlines, yet can we really say that in constructing his plays around them, these themes were a pre-emptive suggestion from Shakespeare that our society (and lives) will forever be dominated by such things?
Children’s non-fiction, or “Educational Writing”, is often seen as the poor cousin of children’s fiction (unless, of course, you’re Terry Deary) – it’s time we started paying it better attention.
Thousands of children each year leave primary school with little more than basic literacy skills. Dr Cathy Taylor, principal at the Sirius Academy in Hull, spoke out last week after finding almost one in ten pupils joining her school at 11 had a reading age of five.
There is happy news for admirers of the sort of literature which inspired Tom Lehrer to hymn the delights of a: “dirty novel I can’t shut.”
Almost a fortnight after it announced that it would henceforth refuse to process payments for self-published novels it regarded as “obscene,” the eBay subsidiary Paypal has performed a somewhat untidy [...]
Sitting on a train last week were two children, a girl of perhaps 11 and her younger brother who was about 9. They were being escorted home to parents after a half term jaunt, I inferred, by their grandmother. After a bit they were ready to settle. Both asked Granny for their Kindles which they then read with total absorption until the train reached St Pancras station 45 minutes later.
The death of books has been proclaimed many times, with digital assumed to be the chief assassin. Print can’t last they say, as Kindles and e-books take a larger share of a market in apparent crisis.
Last year, Joseph Reynolds hit the headlines and shook up the world of education. Don’t know his name? Not surprising. Joseph Reynolds is not an expert in educational theory, nor is he a teacher. Neither is he a rich, influential and well-connected parent who can exert the ‘right’ kind of pressure on his daughter’s school or set up a free school. Since he works as a marine engineer in the merchant navy, he cannot even act as a governor.
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