What’s Been On My Mind This Week

Question Mark

1. This season’s Tony Award nominations – recognising achievement on Broadway – were announced. It’s depressing to see, however, that all five of the works nominated in the ‘Best Play’ category are written by men. There’s an interesting article in The Atlantic here which examines the position of women on Broadway in more detail.

2. There was a fascinating article in the Independent examining how breaking accepted moral codes often comes down to our facility with language and whether a question is posed in our native tongue. This reminded me of another brilliant piece published in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago about how language shapes the way we see the world.

3. Actress Ellen Page (who recently came out) has been in the press again this week for an interview she gave in which she discussed her feelings of shame and guilt about her sexuality. There was also an article in The Times (unfortunately you have to be a subscriber to read it) by former Channel 4 correspondent turned novelist Matt Cain about why Hollywood stars are often still unwilling to come out.

4. Stephen Fry was named as the new President of the Hay Literary Festival. The full festival programme is also now online and booking is open.

5. The Testament of Mary opened at the Barbican on Thursday and runs until 25th May. Do go if you’re in London and haven’t already bought a ticket. You might already have read my review when I saw it on Broadway last year, but if you want to hear more about it you can also listen to me and comedian Rosie Wilby talking about it on Out in South London – her weekly LGBT radio show – here. The section on The Testament of Mary starts about 19 minutes into the programme.

6. Andrew Solomon won the Wellcome Book Prize for his truly extraordinary book, Far From the Tree, which I know I’ve mentioned a couple of times already on this blog. I really I hope I’ve persuaded you all to read it by now.

7. English Pen have launched a new section on their website called ‘World Bookshelf’. Representing some of the most exciting contemporary literature in translation, and featuring both authors and translators, it’s a great resource for anyone interested in novels not written in the English language.

8. As a vegetarian, it was great to see a feature in Stylist (a free weekly UK magazine) on the UK’s top vegetarian restaurants. Now I just have to visit them all…

9. I’ve been reading The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. Shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, I had high hopes, but I must admit I’m a little disappointed with the last quarter still to read. For me, the novel only really gets going halfway through. I’ll finish, but it’s not a book I think I’ll be widely recommending. Finishing it will mean I’m halfway through the shortlist for the Women’s Prize, though I very much doubt I’ll manage to read the other three before the winner is announced on 4th June.

10. I’ve been listening to the amazing German musician Nils Frahm’s latest album, Spaces. This video gives you a good idea of the sort of piano music he produces.

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Categories: On My Mind . . .

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