PATRICK O’BRIAN: NOT JUST FOR BOYS
The Guardian, November 2014
If you haven’t yet read the Aubrey-Maturin series, you’re in for a treat. Lucky you – there are 20 of them.
SOCRATES: MY PHILOSOPHICAL HERO
New Statesman, February 24, 2011
Socrates spoke his ideas, and so brought them to life.
Socrates plays a starring role in my novel, If Minds Had Toes. I am by no means the first person to make use of him in this way. His contemporary Aristophanes mocked him in a play, The Clouds. He is even better known through Plato, featuring in most of his philosophical dialogues. Socrates never wrote anything down, so he has always been vulnerable to being co-opted as a character. And what a character: renowned in his lifetime and then notorious, sentenced to death for practising his philosophy. […]
Human diversity is the new wildlife, apparently. Every second honeymooner has glimpsed a lion or stalked a buffalo, but people—ebony-skinned, half-naked, scarred, painted people—are the new wildebeest. Going to photograph and stare at people untouched by the modern world (ignorant of the life and work of David Beckham) is state-of-the-art adventure tourism. Unfortunately for the participant in the human safari—the white one, that is—one’s arrival tends to mean that these subjects are no longer untouched. No doubt this is unfortunate for the spotted as well as the spotter, but their opinion—as opposed to their photo—is rarely sought. […]
Lionel Shriver in The Telegraph, January 24, 2008
‘One of the four lesser-known contributors, Lucy Eyre, has supplied a cringe-inducing piece of reportage about joining the ranks of tourists keen to snap photos of Real Primitive Peoples in Ethiopia; it could stand to be a bit more fleshed out, but it’s always a good sign when you wish any piece of writing went on for longer.’
Granta 100 is also available in Spanish
PERSPECTIVES was commissioned by the British Council (Ethiopia) to celebrate the long and special relationship between Ethiopia and Britain on the occasion of the Ethiopian Millennium in September 2007.
The book tells of connections between the two countries, using individual perspectives: the Ethiopian Airlines pilot who loves landing at Heathrow; a taxi driver, hairdresser, butcher, farmer and Ambassador from each country; tourism in Ethiopia and a traditional Timkat celebration in London; expats from both places living in each other’s country.
Perspectives was written in conjunction with the very brilliant Kelley Lynch who was in charge of photography and design.
NW15: AN ANTHOLOGY OF NEW WRITING
In the mid-1800s in Texas, every cattle owner would brand their herd with an individual symbol to distinguish their cows from those of other ranchers. Samuel Maverick made a decision not to brand his cows. It would be simple to identify his herd: any cattle found without a brand must belong to Samuel Maverick. Once this scheme was known, all other ranchers had to make certain that their cows were safely branded to prevent them becoming ‘Maverick’ cows. […]