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.