Clifford Thurlow's 1973 press card

My Secret Writing Tutor

  A writing tutor may be a flesh and blood man or woman who pours over your scribblings and offers shrewd advice. You may find your spark in the words of your favourite songwriter – Bob Dylan, say, or an author, William Boyd or John Grisham. If you want to learn how to write elegant sentences […]

Child Mozart and the piano

Can You Learn How To Write?

If you have a box of multi-coloured beads and thread them on a silver chain, the necklace you make will be original, an illustration of your taste and talent – or its absence. If a hundred people make a necklace from the same set of beads, they will all be different. Some a mess, others […]

Wooden Dummy holding a plastic skull

Confessions of a Professional Squirrel Killer

At fourteen, I wore black turtlenecks and learned to smoke Gauloises. The year before, I was a Boy Scout and a professional squirrel killer.  To protect red squirrels, Hertfordshire County Council had declared war on their grey cousins. If you killed a grey squirrel and took its severed tail to an office in Cheshunt, you […]

Black, Female and as Mad as Hell

Salaria Kea worked as a nurse at Harlem Hospital in New York. Most of the patients were black, like her. Most of the senior doctors were white. One day when Salaria and a group of nurses were eating lunch, three white doctors came in. One of them demanded they give up their table. This was […]

George Orwell in his living room contemplating being liberal

The Importance of Being Liberal

A liberal is open minded, understands the benefits of debate and compromise, and is tolerant of people with opposing views. A liberal believes in the democratic system of interconnected institutions designed to limit the excesses of power. They trust in the system where those intent on undermining democracy – populists, nationalists, neo-fascists, neo-communists – have an […]