Books

Paul Mason – Kicking Off the Revolution

On a bright Saturday morning early last year, a bleary-eyed Paul Mason sat down to pen a blog for Newsnight, the BBC current affairs programme on which he is economics editor. The previous evening he had delivered a lecture on the 1871 Paris Commune to a collective of free thinkers and radical students in a […]

Review: Why It’s All Kicking Off Everywhere by Paul Mason

‘It is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism,’ Fredric Jameson, a leading theorist of post-modernism, wrote in 2003. Not anymore it isn’t. If the culmination of Francis Fukuyama’s Whiggish ‘End of History’ was the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 – scuttling liberal democracy’s […]

Review: The Black and Tans

This review of D.M. Leeson’s fascinating The Black and Tans: British Police and Auxiliaries in the Irish War of Independence appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, September 2.  The Black and Tans ‘have gone down in history as the British equivalent of the Turkish bashi-bazouks or the German Freikorps.’ A 10,000-strong police force scrambled from […]

Getting with the programme

Review of Alms on the Highway, New Creative Writing from the Oscar Wilde Centre Trinity College Dublin. Appeared in the Sunday Business Post, 12 June 2011. Can creative writing be taught? Wilbur Schramm certainly believed it could. In 1936, the so-called ‘father of communication studies’ founded the Program in Creative Writing at the University of […]

Growing the seeds of greatness

Interview with Barack Obama’s sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, from the Irish Examiner back in April. LIKE many American presidents before him, Barack Obama never knowingly plays down his Irish roots. On his whistle-stop Irish tour next month, Obama will pay a long overdue visit to Moneygall, the picturesque Offaly village that his great-great-great grandfather, shoemaker Fulmuth […]

Old certainties gone for new writers

My review of New Irish Short Stories, edited by Joseph O’Connor from the Sunday Business Post. Last February, Irish novelist Julian Gough was at the centre of a literary spate about the state of contemporary Irish fiction. In comments published on his personal blog, and later picked up by the Guardian online, the Berlin-based writer […]

The Secret Life of Stuff

Review of Julie Hill’s new book the Secret Life of Stuff appeared in the Sunday Business Post on January 9 Economic growth is always a good thing, right? Not according to the New Economics Foundation. In January 2010, this left-leaning British think-tank warned, in the aptly-titled Growth Isn’t Possible report, that the prevailing orthodoxy of […]

Public Thinkers Beyond The University?

Last week a BBC Radio 3 scheme looking for “a new generation of public intellectuals” closed. Initiated in collaboration with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the scheme aimed to unearth a new wave of public thinkers with an expressed “interest in broader cultural debate”. The competition was open to all – as long […]

Nick Ward – Closing the Circle

In the 19th century Fastnet rock was nicknamed ‘Ireland’s teardrop’. This small, clay-slate island, 11 miles off the coast of Cork, was, for many emigrants, the last glimpse of land before America. A hundred and fifty years after the coffin ships, Fastnet is now a byword for offshore yachting – the biannual race is the […]

A satire on schooldays puts Paul Murray at the top of the class

In Ireland, small talk is not what it was. For centuries, Irish people chatted idly about the weather, then, for one crazy decade, it was difficult to buy a pint of milk without being invited to give an opinion on property prices. Now it’s the ever-worsening recession that is inescapable. “How is it in Longford?” […]

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