Orwell in Paris: Ruth Graves

“Among the letters in Orwell’s possession at his death was one from Ruth Graves, whom he had known twenty years earlier, in Paris. She had, she said, read all his essays but had been prompted to write on hearing Animal Farm described on the radio…as the ‘outstanding political satire of all time.’” Peter Davison (CW […]

Did Orwell smoke opium in Burma?

George Orwell spent five years working as a police officer during the 1920s before unexpectedly resigning to become a writer. There is compelling circumstantial evidence to suggest he experimented with opium while serving with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. A series of fortunate events led to deep research into this controversial topic. A signed […]

Review: Untitled (Past, Present, Future)

Visiting the Stedelijk Museum with my family, after three rewarding but long days of getting value for money from our museum discount card, was one highlight of our time in Amsterdam. By this stage we were weary and in danger of becoming jaded with even the most fabulous cultural artefacts, but such was the excellence […]

Review #GeorgeOrwellOnScreen

My positive disposition towards George Orwell On Screen (Adaptations, Documentaries and Docudramas on Film and Television) – before ever getting to read it – was due to David Ryan‘s generous assistance. The author provided sage advice on where I could view Orwellian material for free while living in London. Many pleasant hours…um…days were spent at BFI Southbank in their […]

Collecting Orwell: A Kind of Compulsion*

*Originally published in George Orwell Studies There are few 20th century writers as collectable as George Orwell. Rare book auctions regularly fetch extraordinary prices, especially for his works published in the 1930s. Even secondhand bookshops have a paucity of battered paperbacks on display. Orwell sells and readers hold on to their copies. Darcy Moore reflects on what […]

George Orwell and William Shakespeare

George Orwell aka Eric Blair (1903-50) is now clearly second only to Shakespeare in the pantheon of English literary giants. In our current contemporary context, where hyperbole is coin of the realm, such an opening claim would seem worthy of challenge. Who would you throw into this literary ring to fight such a bout? TS […]

#TheirBrilliantCareers #review and my #reading in September

“Actually, most of my previous publications listed in ‘Their Brilliant Careers’ are made up! It’s all part of the joke. The only real one is ‘The Weight of a Human Heart.’” “…as much as I love Australian literature and hope my fondness…comes thru in the book, it does tend to take itself a bit seriously […]

#UtopiaforRealists #review and my #reading in May

Consider this: The word utopia means both “good place” and “no place.” What we need are alternative horizons that spark the imagination. And I do mean horizons in the plural; conflicting utopias are the lifeblood of democracy, after all. …in the revolutionary year of 1968, when young demonstrators the world over were taking to the […]

The Handmaid’s Tale #review and my #reading in April

“Our big mistake was teaching them to read. We won’t do that again.” The Handmaid’s Tale p. 307 I suspected re-reading The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) by Margaret Atwood prior to viewing the Tribeca film festival premiere of the new tv series was potentially risky. It is such a great book that this latest adaption – and there have been many – could […]

My #reading April 2016

Every day I work on the edit of my book. I slog away, shifting chunks of material and moving them back, eating my salad in a daze, wondering if the linking passages I’ve written are leading me up a garden path, or are sentimental, or violate some unarticulated moral and technical code I’ve signed up […]

February 2015: My Reading

There’s been a good variety of books completed this month including graphic novels, historical fiction, essays, memoirs, biographies, contemporary fiction, revolutionary pamphlets and plenty of history. Christopher Hitchens and Thomas Paine Last month I consumed oodles of Orwell and re-read Hitchens’ evaluation of the author’s importance to contemporary literature and journalism. This has led to re-discovering […]

January 2015: My Reading

It is not a New Year’s resolution but I intend to write one blog post a month about what I’ve been reading. Usually I write a roundup of books enjoyed twice a year but these posts do not tend to say much in the sense of being reviews. They are more lists with a few […]

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