Shall I tell you a secret? Each episode of Tiffany Jenkins’ five-part radio series The History of Secrecy (Radio 4, Dec 19-23rd) was interesting, but the major effect was cumulative. By the end, two clear messages had emerged. The first was that secrecy is always a double-edged sword, the second […]

2016 Review #6 The History of Secrecy by Tiffany Jenkins

I have long argued that English Literature ends in about 1400AD. I was fascinated to discover, in Andrew Marr’s useful TV programme on Fantasy, that J.R.R.Tolkien and C.S.Lewis believed that English Literature shouldn’t be taught beyond 1400, so that you could concentrate on the important stuff (there are some later […]


The new Ireland: new moral state? Saturday 22 October, 12.00 – 13.00 , Pit Theatre  In May 2015, Ireland voted by an overwhelming majority to legalise same-sex marriage, becoming the first country in the world to do so by popular vote. This decision, hailed as a social revolution, marks an […]

The new Ireland: new moral state?

Death and the meaning of life Sunday 23 October, 16.00 – 17.15 , Cinema 3  ‘Not to be here, not to be anywhere, and soon.’ Philip Larkin’s words help us focus on the great existential question: how should we live our lives when we are permanently under the shadow of […]

Death at the Battle of Ideas

Put this on your Christmas list now.* *****   * assuming you’re interested in flying (and who isn’t?). A riveting, page-turning account of commercial airline flying in the 30s, 40s and 50s, full of incident and drama.** ** if you’re scared of flying, however, maybe not. It’s terrifying. Try Skyfaring […]

2016 Thumbnail Review #25 Fate is the Hunter by Ernest ...

Try to contain your excitement. 3rd edition. Signed copies by arrangement.

Published today!

This is a depressing book. No, let me correct that. This is an uplifting book, a book to make you wonder and rejoice at the richness and diversity of the natural world and all its inhabitants. What is depressing is that it needed to be written. It is almost 150 […]

2016 Review #4 Are We Smart Enough to Know How ...

The first (hapax logomenon?) in a short-lived series of Flying Penguins. It’s an autobiographical account by the man responsible for creating the ‘Fokker Scourge’ of WW1, the Red Baron’s famous triplane, and one of the most influential of all aeroplane companies. Lively, constantly interesting and illuminating (if sometimes a little […]

2016 Thumbnail Review #21 Flying Dutchman by Anthony Fokker

I have added a whole new section to the website (under Non-fiction) devoted to the works of Mervyn Peake – an obsession about which I shall be saying more and more as time passes. Immediately, it is an opportunity to re-publish an article I wrote in 1999 for The Mervyn […]

Mervyn Peake