Skip to main content

Towards the end...

And yet there is no end. Only towards the end of a man-made calendar year. My favourite band of the year was Alt-J. And so it was gratifying to then see them nominated - and then winning - the Mercury Prize for Music. I told myself that I had picked the winner! Or that my trend-setting taste in music was perfectly aligned with the music industry 'experts'. My favourite app of the year has to be FlipBook; it opened up a new world of brilliant design, art, and technology that I probably would otherwise have missed out on. Favourite book? I started so many and failed to finish them. I struggled to connect with literature this year. I did, however, enjoy William Boyd's Waiting for Sunrise. And I was blown away by King Crow, back in the summer. Theatre wise I love The Last of the Hausmanns, starring Julie Walters. And was sore to have missed out on Rylance in Jerusalem. Film wise, I was moved by Nostalgia for the Light, which I blogged about. And really liked Skyfall. And I adored The Master. I am now also a fan of the New Yorker cartoons, although not reading the magazine as intently as the first few months of my sub. And I haven't been using the London Library enough to warrant renewing my membership. So it's onwards, still psyching myself up to resume my work in progress. It will need more emotional commitment. Just waiting for my reserves to kick in.

Popular posts from this blog

Who was Mary Burns?

On 7th January 1863 Mary Burns was found dead from a suspected heart attack. She was 43 years old. Since her death Mary has received barely any attention despite the fact that she spent over twenty years as the common-law wife of Friedrich Engels, one of the world’s most influential thinkers and the co-founder of Marxism.

Born in 1822, Mary was the oldest surviving child of textile dyer and factory operative, Michael Burns, and Mary Conroy, Irish immigrants from Tipperary. Mary’s parents had married at St. Patrick’s in an area known casually as Irish Town, one of few Catholic churches in Manchester at that time. The year of Mary’s birth and her infancy were significant in that Manchester was still dealing with the aftermath of the event that became known as the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, a peaceful protest of the working-classes on the site of St. Peter’s Fields in which several people were killed and hundreds injured. The Massacre occurred when magistrates, alarmed at the size of t…

My PhD critical paper

I thought I'd upload the critical element of my PhD thesis. Hopefully, for those who are interested enough to read it, it will make sense despite the references to my creative work, which I can't upload as I'm seeking publication. And besides, at 68,000 words...

I'm also going to tweak section one of this three section critical paper with a view to journal publication because of the academic interest in the claims I make of Mary.

-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-

And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised


The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

I would also like to acknowledge the generous studentship that I was fortunate to be awarded by Kingston Universi…

Booker Shortlist announced

It's been a while... I know. Dog walking on the Downs, a bit of theatre, a bit of baking, a bit of writing etcetera etcetera. I also managed to read two complete books in the past month, which I was so pleased about. I had not read a whole book for about a year. The first was A Lie About My Father by Scottish poet/writer, John Burnside; a very well written memoir about father and son, but like all memoirs, some unreliability I felt. Poignant and tragic in equal measure. Then my husband returned from Cyprus (too hot for me this time of year, I can barely cope with England!) with Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong. He loved it. And then I read it and also loved it. I had originally picked it up several years ago but didn't get beyond Amiens, where the first section is set, but was really glad I did this time around. Another incredibly well written book in the style of a good Victorian! I felt a bit unsure about bits of Elizabeth, in the later section, but I have never learnt so muc…