Culture Articles

The Doctor, by Robert Icke (Duke of York’s Theatre, London)

08 December 2022 | by Ruth Tod

'What struck me most about this story is the power of strongly-held beliefs to uphold our sense of identity and security, and thus divide us.' | Juliet Stevenson in ‘The Doctor’

This brilliant play exposed some of my worst fears about the future of human beings. The story turns round a well-known, highly successful doctor trying to save the life of a fourteen-year-old, who has contracted sepsis after a failed, self-administered abortion.

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Amen fingers

01 December 2022 | by Dana Smith

‘Nothing is wasted. Ever. With these bits I will make things.’ | by Tracey Parish on Unsplash

Today I bless the fingers of the woman who uses yellow thread to mend a hole in my red sweater. She reads the need of a minute daisy for my light-deprived brain in the dead of December.

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How to be a Refugee: Life lessons by one who escaped the Holocaust, by Irene Gabriele Gill

24 November 2022 | by Glen Williams

‘They threw themselves into political action in support of CND.’ | Book cover of How to be a Refugee: Life lessons by one who escaped the Holocaust, by Irene Gabriele Gill

Oxford Friend Irene Gill has written a truly remarkable book about the first eighty-nine years of her life. It begins with how she, her parents and siblings arrived in Oxford in 1939. Both parents were part Jewish, and needed to escape from Germany. Her father found employment at the university.

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I shall betray tomorrow

17 November 2022 | by Translation by Peter D Leeming.

'You do not know where my courage ends. I do.' | Lynette Giesbrecht on Unsplash

I shall betray tomorrow, not today. Tear out my nails today, I shall not betray. You do not know where my courage ends. I do. Five of you, hard hands with rings. And on your feet you’ve boots With nails.

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An atheist’s creed

10 November 2022 | by Jonathan Wooding

| by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

Wisdom (and folly) through waiting, fearlessly passive1; naked flame’s humility; self-transformation in apostrophic mode, HaShem2; divine non-entity jealous of all humanity; powerless Nazarene’s failure breeding courage; (spontaneous-creative fullness of being3); positive incapability; abiding holiness of place; the inclusion of time in timelessness, (and at the point of death);...

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Friends and Comrades: How Quakers helped Russians survive famine and epidemic, by Sergei Nikitin

10 November 2022 | by Daphne Sanders | 1 comment

'The outcome is a meticulously-researched account of the period from 1916, when Quakers first negotiated entry into Russia to help refugees.' | Book cover of Friends and Comrades: How Quakers helped Russians survive famine and epidemic, by Sergei Nikitin.

A century ago, British and US Quakers were amid the turmoil of the revolution in Russia, providing help to starving people. Today there is again strife and war in Europe. Sergei Nikitin’s book, translated by Suzanne Eades-Roberts, comes at a useful time.

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The Boy at the Back of the Class, by Onjali Q Rauf

03 November 2022 | by Edie Searle

‘At least the teacher could have introduced him to the class by name, and explained that he didn’t speak our language yet.' | Book cover of The Boy at the Back of the Class, by Onjali Q Rauf

I thought this was a really good book. It made me think a lot about refugees and how badly they are treated here in this country.

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Games at dawn

03 November 2022 | by Roger Iredale

'This the place where life begins, angels enter the soul.' | Vanessa Bucceri on Unsplash

Children are the throats of blackbirds easing laughter out of half-light. Dawn raises curtains and the play begins. Trains emerge from skirting-boards, dinosaurs bark circles on the rug, while an army racks the carpet with its tiny dead.

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All Ways Walk Cheerfully, by Peter Schweiger

27 October 2022 | by Review by Keith Chatfield

‘Few can lay claim to have measured the future king of Saudi Arabia for his preferred Italian footwear.’ | Book cover of All Ways Walk Cheerfully, by Peter Schweiger.

Life is a patchwork of happenings, some planned for, many disjointed, and countless repetitive. The richer the incidents that make up these happenings, the richer the patchwork, and this book unpacks a fascinating and busy life in a refreshingly honest style – at times planned, at times disjointed, at times repetitive,...

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When Autumn comes

27 October 2022 | by Rosie Adamson-Clark

'But they have reason to wake in spring, Ready to reach towards the Light again, I feel the loss of energy and power.' | by Lucas George Wendt on Unsplash

I have come to the time When I watch seasons change, Mainly from my window, Nature is framed like some Constable or Turner, Startling, I notice garden choices Some not mine, a year’s growth Will fade, Autumn is here, The full eye blasting colour of the reds Of the...

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