MSt alumna Katherine MacInnes’ series of four children’s books to be published by English Rose

MSt alumna Katherine MacInnes’ series of four children’s books, the Johnny Gorilla books, is to be published by English Rose on 1st December 2017.

“…a new series of four, full colour books based on a real gorilla who came to the Cotswolds a hundred years ago this Christmas. He lived in Uley and is photographed with children from the village school.”

You can read more about the story behind it in Country Life.

MSt alumna Alexandra Strnad’s “H Is for Hadeda” published by Poetry Salzburg

MSt alumna Alexandra Strnad’s H Is for Hadeda has been published by Poetry Salzburg. You can read more about it, and excerpts from it on, their webpage – and order it too.

From the Poetry Salzburg page:

““H Is for Hadeda is a luminous sequence of poems from a writer of great intelligence who combines elegance of expression with an excitingly visceral engagement with language. The polished surface, created by Strnad’s extraordinary dexterity and supple control of syntax and diction, belies deeper currents caused by the rift between older, Central European sensibilities and a newer, less urbane and sometimes less forgiving perspective. The preoccupations are spacious and wide-ranging, taking us from her Czech grand-mother’s Christmas biscuits and the ‘branches populated by pale aphids’ above the Café Meduza in Belgická to the mud-pool wadis of Thesiger’s Arabia, a photo shoot in the desert where the model is teamed with a falcon, a camel shedding ‘one bead of self-pity’ for its dead calf, the ‘aviation cocktails, silver travertine floors’ of the Burj and a young mem-sahib gasping in the heat of Hyderabad while dreaming of coldness and ‘a bed flanked by stalagmites’. It’s rare to find a writer who is at home in so many different contexts and elements and it gives the poems a constant sense of openness to different traditions of thought, of kinetically travelling forwards, of renewal and surprise; a wonderful, life-affirming debut.”

Jenny Lewis

“These are poems of sensuous and edgy detail, alert to the beautiful fascination of the world’s unspoken and ancient dramas – ‘the fury is there: / a dark pip in an old fruit’ (“Prayer”) – all charged with a distinctive acuteness of observation. The collection’s canvas is wide – Eastern Europe, Southern Africa, the desert regions of the Gulf – but Strnad’s attention to the shimmer of danger and darkness is micro-precise, not least in her memorable title poem: ‘she / doesn’t mind, if his feathers are wood ash, his // dull eyes two burnt almond shells, his love call / a slasher-film scream’. A fascinating debut by a poet to watch.”

Jane Draycott

MSt alumnus Quintin Pastrana profiled in Esquire magazine on the opening of his 500th library

from Esquire magazine

Books Saved Him, So Now He’s Building His 500th Library: Quintin Pastrana’s Library Renewal Partnership bets on libraries as a way to save Filipino communities.”

from the article:

For Barangay 105, Tondo, it started with a small space. Around 30 square meters, which—by the standards of a Metro Manila slum that’s so densely populated that it could not be relocated to Bulacan or Laguna—is not very small at all. In 2014, neighboring slumlords began encroaching on this precious empty parcel, and were just about to claim it for themselves before Remy Cabello, a local volunteer teacher, reached out to Quintin Pastrana for help. She told him that if she could not convince the slumlords that she could build a classroom with a library there, they would take it away.

“We had two weeks before they decided to close that place down,” says Pastrana, the founder of the Library Renewal Partnership, a coalition that builds libraries for literacy and community empowerment. “So we had a text brigade going on, emails, Facebook shoutouts—it was Christmas, anyway.”

Read the rest of the article on the website.

MSt tutor Rebecca Abrams on “The Jewish Journey: 4,000 Years in 22 Objects” in The Observer

MSt tutor Rebecca Abrams’ article complementing her book, The Jewish Journey: 4,000 Years in 22 Objects, is in The Observer of 15th October 2017.

From The Observer :

Like stars in a complex constellation, these objects convey the sweep of Jewish history’

A new book by Rebecca Abrams traces the journeys of the Jewish people through 22 objects in Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum. Here, she tell us some of their stories

MSt tutor Helen Mort’s BBC radio commissions, “Millstone” and “Give me Space Beneath my Feet” available to listen to online,on iPlayer

MSt tutor Helen Mort’s two new radio commissions, broadcast on BBC Radio3, are now  available to listen to online on iPlayer:

The Essay – Cornerstones: Millstone

Between The Ears – Give me Space Beneath my Feet (part of last weekend’s ‘Contains Strong Language‘ Festival)

MSt alumna Kent DePinto’s “The Fish that Ate Florida” on BBC World Service’s Life Stories

(Photo: Lionfish in an aquarium, from BBC website)

MSt alumna Kent DePinto’s programme, “The Fish that Ate Florida”, originally on BBC World Service’s Life Stories on 1st October 2017, is now available to listen to online.

From the BBC:

“As part of the BBC Life Stories season, exploring our relationship with the natural world, we travel under the sea in pursuit of a major ecological threat to Western Atlantic coasts – the Lionfish.

The species, which recently spread from its natural territory in the Pacific to Atlantic waters, is aggressive, exotic and very, very hungry. Kent DePinto explores how lionfish went from being an aquarium favourite to the scourge of an aquatic ecosystem as it eats everything in its path – with no natural predators in these seas to control it. She meets the people who have made it their life’s work to eradicate lionfish from Florida waters, in an underwater journey of spears, guns, and survival of the fittest.

Kent explores the tight-knit and sometimes unlikely partnerships of conservationists, scientists, and competitive spear-fishermen and women, as they band together to combat one of the biggest challenges American and Caribbean coral reefs have faced.”