While in the North of England we have been dealing with the consequences of Desmond’s stormy visit, which left us in the dark for a couple of days, armies of diplomats have been negotiating in Paris to find an agreement to keep global warming below 2°C. The COP21, the 21st edition of the yearly United Nations Climate Change Conference, is due to close today – but will overrun to tomorrow. It’s all about communication. As is literature.
The government’s decision that all pupils will now have to study a language GCSE as part of the English Baccalureate (EBacc) could be the moment when languages are restored to their rightful esteem in England – but there is still work to be done to ensure that.
The little we hear about the Central American country of Honduras usually focuses on brutal, ubiquitous, vaguely inexplicable acts of violence, and about the impunity of the perpetrators. Rarely do we get to engage with those who resist and with those who build alternatives, or with their imaginaries and cosmovisions. Honduran painter and muralist Javier Espinal created possibilities for such an encounter during a visit to the U.K. in the first months of 2015. He gave talks at several universities and painted murals with communities in Toxteth, Liverpool, and lrlam, Salford.
Germany’s most consistently controversial writer, the Nobel-winning Günter Grass, has died at the age of 87.
Every mid-October some unsuspecting writer gets a phone call. It’s the secretary of the Nobel Prize committee! Overnight, an averagely respected author is turned into a global literary celebrity. What does this mean for the author, and is it different to other kinds of media fame?
September is Albinism Awareness month in Africa, an event that is increasing in profile thanks to the work of the associations and NGOs that advocate for people with albinism. It is just one of many recent initiatives that aim to raise awareness of a genetic condition that is now recognised as life-threatening in parts of Africa.
Houellebecq’s Soumission gives us a vision of Islam tailored for Western fantasies.