Archive for the ‘Books’ Category


Theatre Book Prize: Shortlist Announced

Sunday, 1 April, 2012

The Society for Theatre Research has announced its Short List for the Theatre Book Prize, selected by this year’s judging panel from books published in 2011, submitted by publishers for their consideration.

A Dancer in Wartime by Gillian Lynne
(Chatto & Windus)

The Heaviest of Swells: A Life and Times in the Music Halls by Christopher Beeching
(DCG Publications)

Covering McKellen:  An Understudy’s Tale by David Weston
(Rickshaw Publishing)

Black and Asian Theatre in Britain: A History by Colin Chambers

Ira Aldridge: the Early Years 1807-1833 and The Vagabond Years 1833-1852 by Bernth Lindfors
(University of Rochester Press/Boydell & Brewer)

The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 Volume 3 The Fifties by Steve Nicholson
(University of Exeter Press)

The Golden Generation: New Light on Post-war British Theatre Edited by Dominic Shellard
(British Library)

The winner will be announced at a reception at Theatre Royal Drury Lane on the morning of Wednesday 25th April 2012.

More at:


How to Produce, Perform and Write an Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Show

Tuesday, 13 March, 2012

A guidebook for Edinburgh Fringe newbies, by Ian Fox

‘How to Produce, Perform and Write an Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Show’ is guide book aimed at performers doing their first shows at the Fringe which can help save them money and heartache.

Originally based on the articles on the author’s blog site, the articles are rewritten and expanded to include all aspects of fringe production, plus it’s full of war stories about how he came about doing things, and everything learnt in nine years of producing shows.

The book is on Amazon in electronic version for the price of a latte.

It’s on Lulu as a printed version for the price of two lattes and muffin.



LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival: Relating Cultures

Thursday, 22 December, 2011

The program for the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival has been announced.

LSE’s 4th Literary Festival will continue our exploration of the relationship between the academic cultures of the arts and social sciences, as well as the interaction between global cultures, and the art of communication and language.


The Medicine Chest of the Soul: Arts and Health
Date: Wednesday 29 February 2012, 4.30-6pm
Speakers: Jane Davies, David McDaid, Margaret Perkins, Jeanette Winterson

AS Byatt: Myths for the Modern World

Myths for a Modern World
Date: Wednesday 29 February 2012, 7-8.30pm
Speakers: AS Byatt, Robert Irwin

Class Wars/Culture Wars: Owen Jones and the Chavs
Date: Thursday 1 March 2012, 5-6.30pm
Speakers: Sue Christoforou, Professor Mary Evans, Owen Jones

Charles Dickens: the best of men, the worst of men
Date: Friday 2 March 2012, 12.30-2pm
Speakers: Claire Tomalin, John Carey


Liars League. Come and hear some new writing

Tuesday, 12 July, 2011

Tonight (12 July) in Cavendish Square, and every month

Once a month, people gather to hear new short fiction by aspiring new writers, read by actors, in a pub in London’s Cavendish Square.

There are usually six or seven pieces to hear, covering the whole spectrum of fiction – tragedy, fantasy, comedy, sci-fi and everything in between and beyond. Tickets are a fiver, and included in that price is usually the opportunity to win a book or two, donated by a friendly publisher.

Details of what, when and where can be found on the Liars League website at

You’ll also find details of how to apply to be one of the readers at a Liars League event, and of course how to apply to have your fiction read to the enthusiastic audience that is a feature of the events.

Each event has a theme. Tonight’s (12 July) is Hot and Bothered, which promises some interesting listening. Forthcoming themes include: East and West (9 August), Shock and Awe (13 Sept) and Fear and Loathing (11 Oct)


Storytails – new fiction readings. This Sunday’s is free

Wednesday, 22 June, 2011

Featuring a reading from Nick Taussig

Nick Taussig reads from 'Love and Mayhem'

This Sunday, 26th June, author Nick Taussig will read from his debut novel “Love and Mayhem” at the Storytails event in Stoke Newington.

For more information about Nick’s work, check his website…

Featuring readings of short fictional stories from some professional, and some not-quite-so professional writers, Storytails is held on the last Sunday of every month from 3pm at The Drop, beneath The Three Crowns pub on the corner of Stoke Newington Church St, London N16 0LH.

The aim of the event is to give those who enjoy writing short stories the opportunity to share original tales in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Any profits from donations received are given on alternating months to local charities Off Centre, and the North London Action for the Homeless.

Find out more about Storytails and the Storytails readings at their website:


Is theatre safe in the hands of grown-ups?

Thursday, 19 May, 2011

Mike Bradwell’s book The Reluctant Escapologist wins the Theatre Book Prize

Mike Bradwell wins the Theatre Book Prize

Mike Bradwell, whose affection for the late Ken Campbell seems to know no bounds, has won this year’s Theatre Book Prize for The Reluctant Escapologist.

Speaking for the judges, critic Jann Parry said, “Because (he) immersed himself so enthusiastically in the theatrical experiments of the 1960s and 70s, he’s remained a believer even while he’s clear-headed – and very funny – about the madder idealism of some of the practitioners. He’s provocative, witty, scabrously honest and very angry about admin personnel who believe they’re worth more than the artists they’re supposed to support.”

Mike Bradwell’s advice to people with a theatre dream, ‘Find a play. Squat a building. Now make a show’.

The Reluctant Escapologist is published by Nick Hern books, price £14.99


The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

Monday, 31 January, 2011

A book review, by Chantal Pierre-Packer

One thing I really enjoy is going into a library to see the numerous shelves full of books.  It is always a special occasion and it requires time to savour.  I need to be able to browse slowly, look, read the blurbs, read a few sentences and take in the whole experience of choosing a new book to read.  I like the smell of the books.  I like the feel of the pages and the sounds it makes as you flick the whole book through.  I like looking at the cover designs.  The books are full of stories, ready to take you to wherever your imagination will go.  People have taken the time to mine their imagination or their life and to share this all with us.  They create new worlds, delve into human emotion and tell us new things about the world and ourselves.

It is especially exciting when I find a book, which has such a compelling story and narrative that you just do not want to put it down.  I discovered such a wonderful book in ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy.

The Road tells the story of a man and his son.  They are in America and something awful has befallen the world and now it and everything in it is dying.  The man and the boy have survived but the world they are now existing in is cold, dark and dangerous.  They travel the road, trying to find food, clothes and all they need to stay alive.

Cormac McCarthy writes with such skill and his description of the landscape and everything around is what makes the book stand out.  The story is broken up into paragraphs on each page.  This makes it quite easy to read and gives it a different quality to usual novels.  It mirrors the condition of the man and the boy; fractured, uncertain and living by the second.  The sentences are simple and effective.  When dialogue between the father and son is given, it is in short sentences or a few words. The conversation is written so each person’s words are on a new line so you can tell who is speaking.  There is not the A said this and B said that.  It is refreshing.


Shh. Stay down.

I’m so scared.


The simplistic way they talk shows how they now live and how much is left unsaid between them.

The father and son are referred to as ‘the man’ and ‘the boy’.  I think this may be for the reader to keep at a distance; do not get attached, their lives are uncertain.  However, this draws you in even more.  You do not focus on who they were but who they have become and the struggle they face.  Names are no longer used in their world.  The past has been almost forgotten and the only drive now is living in the hope and love of God and trying to stay alive.  There are good people and bad people.  The man and boy are the good guys.  They have encountered various pain and suffering and find new horrors along their journey.  They always have their hope however and their love for one another which is admirable.

The story moves at a steady pace, never too fast.  You feel as though you are taking the journey with them.  You walk when they walk and rest when they rest.  Time passes and the changes within their bodies and in the world around them is described in detail.  You can almost imagine the smells, the weather and the level of the light that is depicted.

The things we take for granted, such as warmth and being able to eat, are taken and thrown at you as you read how they fight daily for survival.  It makes you think of those in the world now who are in the same situation.  The love they have for each other is so strong and the man has taught his son well.  Every day brings new challenges.

I read this book as often as I could; on transport, anywhere, a quick five minutes here or there.  It was thoroughly enjoyable to read.  There are some unpleasant moments but Cormac McCarthy deals with it all delicately and tastefully.  I recommend this book to anyone who wants to remember the love that is all around us.  The hope we all need to keep in our hearts.  We must never give up and stay determined and driven.  Families are important.  Life is important.  We can all make a positive difference in life.  We just need to believe in ourselves and be around those that will encourage us too.  Go out and really live life.  It is such a blessing.

(c) Chantal Pierre-Packer, January 2011