The P-Word

This week Twitter has been abuzz over what is always a hot topic in the literary world. I am, of course, talking about the P-word – plagiarism. In her was-to-be-published debut collection of poems, American writer Ailey O’Toole was accused of stealing language from the work of fellow poet Rachel McKibbens. O’Toole was publicly called out by McKibbens and has subsequently had her debut collection cancelled by Rhythm and Bones Press. Since then, several other poets have come forward to claim that O’Toole has appropriated work belonging to them. The writing community, always a febrile place where plagiarism is concerned, rounded on O’Toole who issued an apology to McKibbens. So far, so ugly. Continue reading “The P-Word”

The Responsibility of Reading

This week our four-year-old has been learning her first sight words. I, can, said, no, to, not, you, here, help, play, where, and we have all been written onto flashcards before being splatted by a fly swat as she recognises each word. She’s had great fun splatting, and it has allowed her to join in when we’re reading to her before bedtime.

I’m reminded of all the exploring she has ahead of her. She’ll tiptoe along wainscots with Arrietty. She’ll whitewash the fence alongside Tom Sawyer. She’ll grope around Gollums’ cave in the darkness and guess the password in front of the Fat Lady in Hogwarts. To have all of this in front of her, undiscovered, is a precious thing, and one I’m not a little jealous of. Continue reading “The Responsibility of Reading”

A Matter of National Insecurity

Recently there has been a furore over a scene, or more accurately lack of a scene, in the Neil Armstrong biopic ‘First Man’. Despite the American flag being shown on the surface of the moon, there is not (brace yourself here) a shot of the flag actually being planted into the lunar soil (I told you it was bad). Cue much gnashing of teeth on social media and spluttering indignation from several U.S. politicians. ‘…A terrible thing…’ bemoaned President Trump, whilst Senator Marco Rubio described the editing decision as ‘…total lunacy…’. It was an easy win for both men; they hoovered up votes on the right of their party, whilst offending a Hollywood which was overwhelmingly blue in the last election. Not being from that side of the pond, I decided to search for some controversy myself. I was unsuccessful. Continue reading “A Matter of National Insecurity”

Why not? I’ll tell you why…

A little op-ed piece this morning…

It can be easy to become numb to the wackiness of the internet. Today, an unscientific trawl from my laptop reveals that not only has a widow been brought to tears after opening an envelope left by her late husband, but that someone started a rumour that Cardi B’s real name is “Cardigan Backyardigan”. Leaving aside the unsustainable level of background knowledge I would need for either of these stories to matter to me, I can think of no circumstances which would prompt me to snap at this click-bait. Continue reading “Why not? I’ll tell you why…”