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"I am no bird, and no net ensnares me."

It's been a while, Brown Brontë readers, I know. I've had so many other research and writing projects on the go that my blog has fallen by the wayside a little bit. I fully intend to try and post a bit more regularly now, but you've heard that before so I'm making no promises as to how often that will be. I will say that I've read and watched a bunch of stuff and I'd love to share reviews with you all, so watch this space. For now, I'll start with my thoughts on " I Am No Bird, " a dramatic and musical production by Stute Theatre , who are performing it as part of this year's Ilkley Literature Festival .  It's a lively little piece that explores what it means - and meant - to be a woman trying to make a living from the arts. It looks at the barriers to women's creativity, historical and current, and, spoiler alert, there's a lot that hasn't changed, depressingly.  The piece depicts three women trying to write and put on a show
Recent posts

2021 Round-Up of the Year and Stats

  It’s been a long time since I posted on here, but I have had a lot of projects on the go, and so it feels like the year has come to an end very quickly. Thankfully it’s been a bit more hopeful than the apocalyptic mess that was 2020, although there has been plenty of madness to keep us all on the verge of tearing our hair out. WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO IN 2021: PASTURES NEW A walk in my local park, W. Yorks The biggest thing that happened for me in 2021 was being accepted onto a paid PhD programme. It felt like the right time to make a change from my old job, as personal circumstances, and changes to the way we were working thanks to the pandemic, the discourse in my subject area and my research interests all seemed to align. Starting it has been the most exhilarating and scary thing I’ve done in a long time and I’m so glad I did it, and so grateful to my amazing family for supporting me to go for it. ACTIVISM Photo: Bing Online Pictures under Creative Commons Prior to 2021 I

Made In Heaven - Review

We're coming up to the last week of the summer, but there's still time to get away and enjoy the last of the warm weather. And if you do, I know the perfect read for you to relax with. SYNOPSIS: When modern-language graduate Hema, orphaned and unloved from a young age, applies for a job one summer as an au pair to a little girl in the South of France, she doesn't imagine how her life will change as a result. Her employer, Rahul Raichura, is handsome, rich and charming. Her charge, Amelie, is sweet and loving. Hema thinks perhaps she has found the family she lacked, growing up; but first she has to contend with disapproval, secrets, and bitter memories.  REVIEW: This Jane Eyre-inspired romance with an Indian flavour will make the perfect light beach read for fans of Saz Vora’s other novels. Its more serious themes such as family loyalty, responsibility, and living with a disfigurement, are not laboured too much. Instead, they are woven around the passionate love story

Cut from the Same Cloth? Muslim Women on Life in Britain

So many times while reading this book I found myself nodding and saying ‘YES!’ I hadn’t realised how very rarely I come across a book, writers, voices, that speak to the entirety of my existence as a British Muslim woman; finding that book, those voices, was like letting out a breath I’d been holding, or feeling the relief of relaxing aching facial muscles that had been stretched in a smile all day. There was no need to pretend, no need to explain, no need to justify. What made this anthology of essays so different from the usual ones, was that they are not teaching or preaching, nor do they try to cater to an external gaze. These are British Muslim women writing their experiences and thoughts for women like themselves; women like ME. The essays in this book have been collected by Sabeena Akhtar, and include pieces by figures such as Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, Shaista Aziz, Yvonne Ridley and others. All of them are different in tone, style, and subject – some are academic or discursive, o

Five Strong Fictional Mothers

This time last year we were all in the first lockdown situation. Many of us were unable to go and visit our mothers but thankfully modern technology meant we could still keep in touch. This time around, hopefully more of us will be able to go and see our mothers - though there might still be a restriction on hugs. In the meantime, let’s talk about mothers in books. Here are my top fictional mums (in no particular order): 1.        Marmee, Little Women Marmee is the quintessentially perfect mother. She’s strongminded, principled, and teaches her girls the values she wants them to grow up with. As matriarchs go, she’s probably the most iconic one. Even if she comes across as a little preachy some of the time. OK, a lot of the time.   2.        Marilla, Anne of Green Gables Even though Marilla isn’t Anne’s biological mother, she provides all the love and stability that Anne has missed in her childhood before coming to Green Gables. She starts off being rather stiff and strict

Poets & Purple Ink in the Pink City: Jaipur Journals Review

Synopsis: Authors, poets and academics gather together at the Jaipur Literature Festival to share their work and to bask in the adulation of fans. Rudrani Rana is both a fan and a writer, and brings her work in progress in a canvas bag to the festival: a manuscript of a novel, titled ‘UNSUBMITTED’. Not just any manuscript, however: this is something Rudrani has revised and rewritten over the course of most of her life, until only one sentence remains unchanged: ‘my body is a haunted house.’ Perhaps this will be the time she actually submits the great work of her life. Review: The book follows Rudrani and a small cast of other characters as their paths intersect and they experience their own epiphanies and life-changing moments at the festival. Anyone who has been to a literature festival or other literary event will recognise the descriptions of the performances, the panel discussions, the audiences. But this one seems to be a microcosm of the world outside, and the connections forge

St George of Merrie England: History, Myth and Fairy Tale

Today - 23rd April - is St George's Day . Most of us are aware of St George's Mediterranean and Middle Eastern origins; Google says he was born to Greek parents but in fact his mother was from Syria and his father from what is now Anatolia, right in the middle of modern-day Turkey. Not much else is known about him other than that he was a soldier in the Roman army who was martyred for being Christian.  He is also venerated in the traditions of different cultures and faiths, including in some Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries. The idea of patron saints is an interesting one to me - I've always thought that the fact that these saints hail from different parts of the world to the countries they are patron saints of, is a bit of a paradox. On the one hand their cultural and ethnic differences are overlooked in favour of the unifying aspect of their faith and values - but on the other hand, patron saints are a symbol of nationhood - and often co-opted by nationalists.