Arts & Culture

The best books by women of the 21st century

On International Women’s Day, writers and critics pick the best works by women since 2000 Martin Doyle The Irish Times SINÉAD GLEESON You don’t need me to tell you to read everything pre and post-2000 by the greatest Irish writer, Anne Enright (who just happens to be a woman) – but you really should. Or to read our poets: Eavan Boland, Rita Ann Higgins, Elaine Feeney, Sinéad Morrissey, Leanne O’Sullivan. You already know all about the success of Marian Keyes ... Read More »

A Man of Good Hope is no tale of triumph over adversity, but it is the story of many

In a world where so many are escaping brutality, war, persecution, and loss of land, is it possible to tell the story of just one displaced person, and in so doing, tell the story of many? William Peterson The Conversation With A Man of Good Hope, a theatrical adaptation of a biography of the same name by Jonny Steinberg, the Cape Town-based Isango Ensemble suggests the answer is yes. An energetic cast of over 20 actor-singer-dancer-musicians are shaped by director ... Read More »

Five books on work by French authors that you should read on your commute

An emerging genre of fiction in France is providing an unlikely brand of escapism. Growing numbers of French writers are choosing work as their subject matter – and it seems that readers can’t… Amy Wigelsworth The Conversation The prix du roman d’entreprise et du travail, the French prize for the best business or work-related novel, is testament to the sustained popularity of workplace fiction across the Channel. The prize has been awarded annually since 2009, and this year’s winner will ... Read More »

Socrates in love: how the ideas of this woman are at the root of Western philosophy

Where did Socrates, the foundational figure of Western philosophy, get the inspiration for his original ideas about truth, love, justice, courage and knowledge? Armand D’Angour The Conversation New research I’ve conducted reveals that as a young man in 5th-century BC Athens, he came into contact with a fiercely intelligent woman, Aspasia of Miletus. I argue that her ideas about love and transcendence inspired him to formulate key aspects of his thought (as transmitted by Plato). If the evidence for this ... Read More »

The sounds of Speechless, where words are superfluous

Speechless is the new opera by award-winning composer Cat Hope, co-commissioned by the Perth Festival and Tura New Music. Stephen Chinna The Conversation This is Hope’s powerful response to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2014 report into children in immigration detention. Hope created what she describes as a “graphic score” derived from drawings and graphics extracted from the Report. This system of “animated graphic notation” is explained by Tura as “the representation of music through the use of visual symbols ... Read More »

Crossing Divides: The friends who are good for your brain

Creative thinking is essential for everything from solving problems to personal fulfilment. So, how can we do more to nurture it? By Julie Van de Vyver & Richard Crisp, Durham University BBC Every day we are expected to make hundreds of decisions and judgements. These range from small ones, like what to have for breakfast, to big ones like whether to take a new job. The trouble is that our mental resources are limited – the human mind can only cope ... Read More »

Climate change: narrate a history beyond the ‘triumph of humanity’ to find imaginative solutions

One reason why people find it difficult to think about climate change and the future may be their understanding of human history. Amanda Power The Conversation The present day is believed to be the product of centuries of development. These developments have led to a globalised world of complex states, in which daily life for most people is highly urbanised, consumerist and competitive. By this account, humanity has triumphed over the dangers and uncertainties of the natural world, and this ... Read More »

New clues to the lost tomb of Alexander the Great discovered in Egypt

Excavations in Alexandria’s ancient royal quarter provide intriguing hints to the famous conqueror’s final resting place. By Erin Blakemore National Geographic It was the last hour of the last day of a long, frustrating dig, and Calliope Limneos-Papakosta was ready to go home. For 14 years the Greek archaeologist had been scouring Shallalat Gardens, a public park in the heart of Alexandria, Egypt, for traces of Alexander the Great, the ancient conqueror-turned-pharaoh who gave the city his name. Now it ... Read More »

‘Centuries of entitlement’: Emma Thompson on why she quit Lasseter film

In her resignation letter from the film Luck, the actor questions whether any company should work with disgraced film executive John Lasseter Emma Thompson The Guardian When the actor Emma Thompson left the forthcoming animated film Luck last month while it was still in production, it was done without public fanfare, and was only confirmed when film-industry publications such as Variety magazine picked up on it. Now Thompson has put herself firmly above the MeToo parapet with the publication publishing her ... Read More »

Theano of Croton And The Pythagorean Women Of Ancient Greece

2500 years ago, in a small but soon to be revered town in Southern Italy, a group of men and women gathered, united by the proposition that the universe is, at its base, Numbers. Dale DeBakcsy Women You Should Know They were called the Pythagoreans, and their society would last for a millennium while their mathematical discoveries will be part of every geometry textbook in every school for as long as there are humans to read them. And at the ... Read More »

Outrage over antisemitic attacks in France presents opportunity for Emmanuel Macron to heal wartime wounds

France has recently been rocked by a series of antisemitic attacks. Portraits on post boxes of the late Simone Veil – a Holocaust survivor and the country’s first minister for women’s affairs – were vandalised. David Lees The Conversation The philosopher Alain Finkelkrault was verbally abused by protesters from the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) movement. A number of tombstones in Jewish cemeteries have been defaced with Swastikas and a man was shot with an air rifle outside a synagogue in ... Read More »

English is not enough – British children face major disadvantage when it comes to language skills

For a number of years now, the provision of languages in British schools and universities has been in decline. Authors: The Conversation Yet, as Brexit looms largely on the horizon, there has been much talk in the media and from politicians about the need for a… Arguably, a country can only really be global and outward looking if language skills are considered essential for its citizens. The government seems to share this view – at least to some extent. This ... Read More »

Heaven and Earth in Chinese Art is an exercise in spectacle

The exhibition Heaven and Earth in Chinese Art, Treasures from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, is the first major loan to Australia from this repository of what have become the canonical art works of… John Clark The Conversation It deserves to be seen by all those interested in Chinese art, and hopefully will be the precursor for many such loans in the future. Perhaps it will also prod the National Palace Museum in Beijing to do a major loan exhibition, ... Read More »

Why a centuries-old religious dispute over Ukraine’s Orthodox Church matters today

A new Orthodox Church was recently established in Ukraine. Shortly after, Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople and the spiritual head of global Orthodox Christianity, granted independence to the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine and transferred its jurisdiction from the church of Moscow to the church of Constantinople, located in Istanbul. Victoria Smolkin The Conversation This competition between the churches of Constantinople and Moscow for dominance in the Orthodox Christian world is not new – it goes back more than ... Read More »

Fierce litigator worked pro-bono to champion human rights

At Steven Glass’s funeral, his closest friends and loved ones were discovering things about him they didn’t know and connecting with people that they had never met before. By Asia Lenard, George Newhouse, Ju Lin O’Connor and Eva Orner The Age It’s not that Steven was secretive, he was simply a man who got things done, quietly, without fanfare, and with no expectation of recognition. Steven was born in Melbourne in 1960 to John and Ellen Glass. His mother’s family escaped ... Read More »