Review: Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table (2011)

This is the draft of my review of Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table – recently published in Wasafiri: Review: Ondaatje, Michael. The Cat’s Table. London: Jonathan Cape, 2011. Hardback. ISBN 978-0-224-09361-3, £16.99, 286pp ‘You fellows know that there are those voyages that seem ordered for the illustration of life, that might stand for a symbol […]

Arab authors & literary institutions: Interview with Fadia Faqir

This is the proof of an interview that was first published in the Journal of Postcolonial Writing (48.1) in March 2010. INTRODUCTION ‘If the discourse in the metropolis aims to de-humanise Arabs and make them disappear in order to justify ‘collateral damage,’ my fiction and writing aims to humanise not only the Arabs, but the English, […]

The politics of parenting

There is a prevailing assumption that children and politics do not mix. That parenting is apolitical, and that women who talk about children cannot, at the same time, be talking about resistance, justice, struggle or emancipation. This was brought home to me recently, when in a recent Facebook post I wrote the following: “I received […]

Really Useful Engines

Whilst this blog is not meant to be solely devoted to children’s literature, I can’t refrain from commenting on the books in Thomas & Friends’ Pocket Library (Egmont Books, 2010). Given the popularity of the cheeky blue engine and his pals, the overt moralising and unrelenting utilitarianism are shocking. The engines literally learn to toe the […]

Children’s books in the literary marketplace

Many illustrated books for children are packed with stereotypes. From ‘naughty’ Spot who won’t eat his dinner, to mummies dressed in pink aprons, and daddies who read the paper and go on adventures, the children’s literary marketplace seems to be dominated by conditional parenting and conservative narratives. Although there are fantastic children’s illustrators and writers, we […]

That’s not very long…

I received an email yesterday from Clare College, Cambridge about the high profile events being planned by the college to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the admission of women into the college. The email invited me, along with other members of the college, to come together and celebrate the college for taking ‘the momentous decision to end centuries […]