Cassandra Darke is an art dealer, mean, selfish, solitary by nature, living in Chelsea in a house worth £7 million. She has become a social pariah, but doesn’t much care. Between one Christmas and the next, she has sullied the reputation of a West End gallery & has acquired a conviction for fraud, a suspended sentence & a bank balance drained by lawsuits. On the scale of villainy, fraud seems to Cassandra a rather paltry offence – her own crime involving `no violence, no weapon, no dead body’. But in Cassandra’s basement, her young ex-lodger, Nicki, has left a surprise, something which implies at least violence and probably a body . .

… Something which forces Cassandra out of her rich enclave and onto the streets. Not those local streets paved with … More

Sincerity is Duffy’s final collection of poems as Poet Laureate. Time and its passage are at the heart of this reflective work, which gazes out from the autumn of life. There are moving elegies here for what has departed; whether that be children who have flown the nest, a way of life, literary luminaries, past loves, lost parents or our own youth.

As Duffy dramatizes scenes from childhood, adolescence and adulthood, she finds moments of grace or consolation in memory, love and … More

It was tempting to think, at times like this, that some bizarre hysteria had gripped the British people’ Beginning eight years ago on the outskirts of Birmingham, where car factories have been replaced by Poundland, and London, where frenzied riots give way to Olympic fever, Middle England follows a brilliantly vivid cast of characters through a time of immense change.

There are newlyweds Ian and Sophie, who disagree about the future of the country and, possibly, the future of their … More

When Jamaica became independent on August 6, 1962, ska music was playing in yards, dancehalls, and in recording studios as this new nation celebrated. It was a spirited music, full of promise, optimism, and energy and it was the perfect sound to showcase to the world. Now that Jamaica was independent, what better way to demonstrate the culture, beauty, and art of Jamaica than through ska, both as a music and as a dance. The Jamaican government, tourist and business industry, and newly developing music industry made it their mission to bring Jamaican music to the world, through events they termed Operation Jump Up. This is the story of that effort and how, for a brief time, ska rivaled the Beatles and the Twist.

Operation Jump Up is the culmination of four years of research. The detailed historical narrative features dozens of interviews with … More

Jinju is bad. She smokes, drinks, runs away from home, and has no qualms about making her parents worry. Her mother and sister beg her to be a better student, sister, daughter; her beleaguered father expresses his concerns with his fists. Bad Friends is set in the 1990s in a South Korea torn between tradition and Western modernity and haunted by an air of generalized gloom…

Cycles of abuse abound as the characters enact violence within their power structures: parents beat children, teachers beat students, older … More

Why are we so obsessed by the pursuit of happiness? With new ways to measure contentment we are told that we have a right to individual joy. But at what cost? In an age of increasing individualism, we have never been more alone and miserable. But what if the true nature of happiness can only be found in others?

In Radical Happiness, leading feminist thinker Lynne Segal believes that we have lost the art of radical happiness the art … More

The neighbours all complain about the foxes hanging around the flat where Cassie lives, close to the river Thames, but Cassie thinks they’re beautiful. Her favourite is a small fox with a white tail-tip, who she names Frost. One night she catches sight of him out in the snow, looking cold and thin, and decides to sneak him some food.

But Frost seems to want her to follow him. As he leads Cassie towards the river she feels the world … More

Chamber Music, a “genre-defying” exploration of Wu Tang Clan’s seminal album “Enter the Wu Tang: 36 Chambers”, is an “exhilarating” and “innovative” non-fiction experimentalism about “one of the most important records of the 20th century”, according to the publisher. Porter added: “It will be a discursive, essayistic foray into and around the album, built of 36 chapters or ‘chambers’. It will be about everything from cult cinema to race relations; drug legislation to the history of jazz; Staten Island to Shaolin Samples.

Will is technically virtuosic and has the perfect blend of expertise and magpie-like enthusiasm to ensure this will be an … More