Berit Haugen Keyes

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Susanna Clarke’s novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, is a strange mix of History and Fantasy which has topped bestseller lists around the world.

Airbrushing the heroes from History – Dermot Bolger and The Family on Paradise Pier

Sunday, May 1st, 2005

Dermot Bolger's latest book, The Family on Paradise Pier, changed title several times in the four and a half years it took him to write it. For a long time it was called The Former People. The term was used by Stalin to describe those who refused to take part in the Revolution, served no […]

Drowning the Shamrock. The place of drink in the Irish national holiday, St. Patrick’s day.

Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

It is March 18th, the day after the day before. Ireland is suffering from a giant hangover. Callers to radio shows throughout the day describe how the Irish have made a show of themselves in front of the whole world, and newsreaders are suggesting that the level of disgraceful drunkenness was unprecedented. Things have never […]

An Irish Life. Nell McCafferty in interview.

Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

Women and rebellion is something McCafferty knows a lot about. Having grown up in Derry, she was at the centre of Northern Ireland’s civil rights movement for equal votes, homes and jobs for Catholics. McCafferty was there on Bloody Sunday in 1972, when British soldiers shot dead 14 marchers in Derry.

A Baghdad Journal – Asne Seierstad

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

When Asne Seierstad wrote The Bookseller of Kabul, she wanted to do something few war reporters do – get personal. Hence she abandoned the front lines to move in with an Afghan family and write a book about their troubled lives. In doing so she provided a poignant insight to the drudgery of the “old […]

Black cat seen walking under a ladder on Friday the 13th. A historical look at superstitions.

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

Did you count the magpies on your way to work this morning? Are you afraid of walking under a ladder? If the answer is yes some might say that you are superstitious. Although it is an assessment the experts are unlikely to agree with. Steve Roud, a folklorist who has written a book on the […]

Christmas Reborn. The creation of a consumer Christmas – Professor Stephen Nissenbaum in interview.

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

When getting ready for Christmas, decorations collected over the years come down from the attic to transform our house into a yuletide shrine. Ancient carol singers share the mantelpiece with a new holly wreath. The dining table becomes a winter wonderland, covered with Santas of different nationality, size and shape. Mixed in with the red-hatted […]

Imagine Sarajevo

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

When students were asked to express their hopes and dreams for the future on canvas, they painted motorways. They wanted fast and effective escape routes. When the brushes were handed to children from the orphanage, they refused to use colour. All their painting was done in black These and many other illustrative responses from Sarajevo's […]

U2 and Me. Neil McCormick in Interview.

Friday, October 1st, 2004

Neil McCormick knew from an early age that he was destined for stardom. Perhaps that sort of ambition in young men is more common than we think. Certainly Mount Temple Comprehensive in Dublin had its fair share of it. It has become famous as the place where Bono, the Edge, Larry and Adam went to […]

Bushwomen. Angel in the house or demon on the loose – it is all in the presentation.

Friday, October 1st, 2004

&ldquoW is for Women” reads one of the slogans for George W. Bush's re-election campaign. It reminds me of a badge that was very popular when I was a student: &ldquoThe earth is flat. Pigs can fly. Nuclear energy is safe.” While following the US election campaign, many European observers have commented on how much […]