Give or take a debatable rock or two, Britain is an archipelago of around 6,300 islands of which 132 are inhabited all the year round by humans. As Patrick Barkham writes, “We are all islanders, but some are more islander than others” – which means, I think, that those of us on the smaller islands are continually reminded of our insularity by the unforgiving fact that we need to catch a ferry or a plane before we can reach a supermarket or a hospital; while for others of us, the big islanders, an awareness of our island-ness is now mainly sentimental or political, surprising us when we catch a glimpse of white cliffs or see a film about Dunkirk. But inside many a big islander, a small islander is struggling to get out. While a good number of Britain’s small islands have been steadily losing their populations since the 19th century, a tiny number of people have been going the other way. “Island life” to the St Kildans implied a … [Read more...] about Islander by Patrick Barkham review – small islands can teach us how to live
Well, what a day. The festival site has been revolutionised today by a mix of fantasy and reality, with George RR Martin and Alex Salmond equally attracting the crowds – and driving the press crazy. Alex Salmond owns the crowd The First Minister was in the festival to take part in a series of talks about Scotland’s future with Sir Tom Devine, who retires as Professor of History at the University of Edinburgh this month and has written books including The Scottish Nation and Scotland’s Empire. And both the press and the public jumped through hoops to get a hold of him. Here are some of the highlights from the Guardian’s Scotland correspondent Severin Carrell. His full news report to come shortly. Rowan Williams warned about the Iraq crisis There was also room to debate grimmer current events. Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, cautioned against the “terrible illusion” that the crisis in Iraq can be solved by “surgical military … [Read more...] about Alex Salmond, Rowan Williams and George RR Martin: a day of unlikely trios at the Edinburgh book festival
Where are you from? No, where are you really from? No, seriously though, where are your parents from? People of colour have been asked this intrusive sequence of questions for decades now, by a stranger, out of nowhere. And that stranger does not understand why you find it intrusive. If a friend asked, or if someone asked within the context of a conversation, I’d be happy to talk about my dad being born in Kenya or which village in Gujarat my grandparents are from or how my mum ended up in Keighley. However, usually, the person asking the question isn’t asking for anthropology’s sake. They’re asking because you look foreign and they want to know how foreign you are. Thus begins Afua Hirsch’s book, Brit(ish), where she looks to answer for herself, on her own terms, where she is from, where she is really from. Brit(ish) is a book that seeks to explore what Britishness looks like to a mixed-race child of immigrants who was born in this country. The UK saw a … [Read more...] about Brit(ish) review – what does it mean to be black and British now?
Hillary Clinton is set to publish a new book about the women who have inspired her, from Mary Beard to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – “leaders with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done”. After publishing her memoir about the 2016 presidential election campaign, What Happened, Clinton teamed up with her daughter Chelsea to write The Book of Gutsy Women, due out in October from Simon & Schuster. “If history shows one thing, it’s that the world needs gutsy women,” the Clintons say. “So in the moments when the long haul seems awfully long, we hope you will draw strength from these stories. We do.” Historian Beard is cited for using “wit to open doors that were once closed”, while novelist Adichie is extolled for her writing on feminism. Also included are the teenage climate emergency activist Greta Thunberg, and the 17th-century nun and poet Juana Inés de la Cruz, whom they say … [Read more...] about Hillary and Chelsea Clinton co-write The Book of Gutsy Women
Those feeling the pinch have no need to sell their big TVs to get their hands on Jamie Oliver's lastest cookbook, Save with Jamie, after the celebrity chef donated a copy to every library in the country. The charitable move comes after the celebrity chef sparked media condemnation with comments he made in an interview with the Radio Times to promote his upcoming autumn Channel 4 show, Jamie's Money Saving Meals. Oliver's publisher, Penguin Random House, is donating a copy of Save with Jamie to over 4,000 libraries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. According to Oliver, his latest cookery book was written in response to readers' requests. Describing the book on Amazon, the celebrity chef said: "This year, I've got the message loud and clear that as everyone comes under bigger and bigger financial pressure, they want help to cook tasty, nutritious food on a budget, so this book was born completely out of public demand." It emphasises cooking knowledge and skills to support healthier … [Read more...] about Jamie Oliver donates his latest cookbook to over 4,000 UK libraries