I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Issue 65, March 2015

Getting It Down Right

In an interview, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne talks Paula McGrath about the discipline of writing, writing in different genres, the teaching of creative writing and the differences between tackling a novel and a short story.

Radio Ga Ga

The critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin’s broadcasts for children blur the lines between seriousness and playfulness. For Benjamin, canonically complex and highbrow thinking can and should be regarded in certain instances as child’s play.

Pay Attention

Ali Smith has written a daring and brilliantly successful novel about art and language, the making and understanding of art, and of life. It’s about attention and engagement and how to stay awake in the world and in life, which will be over sooner than we think.

Passing It On

The historian and adult education champion RH Tawney, whose personal and work life were often stormy, may be seen to represent through his career the idea of the nobility of public service. He put the best of himself into his work of spreading understanding and culture.

Memory Too Has a History

For all the talk of the past, much of the current infatuation with memory has been driven by the concerns of the present, while the popularisation of psychoanalytical discourse has favoured engagement with supposedly traumatic events which can accrue political capital.

The Green Fuse

Dylan Thomas read and learned from Auden, as they both read and learned from Eliot. However, where Auden saw the neo-Augustan classicist in the older poet, Thomas could see ‘the skull beneath the skin’ and shared Eliot’s fascination with the irrational and grotesque.

Blood On Their Hands

Inside a few months in 1994 up to a million people were massacred in Rwanda. There have since been trials of fugitives in Germany, Norway, Finland, Netherlands and Sweden, but in France, where a large number of senior suspects appears to be sitting comfortably, there is little activity.

‘Them Poor Irish Lads’ in Pennsylvania

The late nineteenth and early twentieth century in America was a time of great confrontation between workers and bosses over wages, working conditions and unionisation. In these circumstances there grew up in the Pennsylvania coalfields a secret militant organisation with close ties to the Irish community.