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October 2019

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Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister by Jung Chang - the fascinating stories of three women at the heart of twentieth-century China
17th October 2019

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister by Jung Chang - the fascinating stories of three women at the heart of twentieth-century China

 

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Siste by Jung Chang

 

For her fourth epic biography from Chinese history, Jung Chang is bringing us the stories of Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister. They were the most famous sisters in China. As the country battled through a hundred years of wars, revolutions and seismic transformations, the three Soong sisters from Shanghai were at the centre of power, and each of them left an indelible mark on history. Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister is a gripping story of love, war, intrigue, bravery, glamour and betrayal, which takes us on a sweeping journey from Canton to Hawaii to New York, from exiles’ quarters in Japan and Berlin to secret meeting rooms in Moscow, and from the compounds of the Communist elite in Beijing to the corridors of power in democratic Taiwan. Here you can read an exclusive extract taken from the introduction

 

 


 

 

When I switched my focus to the sisters, my eyes were opened to just how extraordinary they were. Their lives spanned three centuries (May-ling died in 2003, aged 105) at the centre of action during a hundred years of wars, seismic revolutions and dramatic transformations. The backdrop moved from grand parties in Shanghai to penthouses in New York, from exiles’ quarters in Japan and Berlin to secret meeting rooms in Moscow, from the compounds of the Communist elite in Beijing to the corridors of power in democratising Taiwan. The sisters experienced hope, courage and passionate love, as well as despair, fear and heartbreak. They enjoyed immense luxury, privilege and glory, but also constantly risked their lives. In one narrow escape from death, Ching-ling suffered a miscarriage, and she was never able to have children. Her anguish would play a big role in her behaviour as Communist China’s vice chairman.

 

May-ling also had a miscarriage that left her childless. Her husband Chiang Kai-shek, whose political career had taken off after he killed one of Sun’s foes, was himself pursued by assassins, two of whom got close to her marital bed one night.

 

Ei-ling helped Little Sister fill the void left by childlessness, but she had to cope with her own lifelong disappointments, not the least of which was a universally bad reputation: she was seen as greedy and wicked Big Sister, while Red Sister was treated as a pure goddess and Little Sister as a glamorous international star. The relationship between the three women was highly charged emotionally, and not just because Ching-ling was actively working to destroy the lives of the other two. Chiang Kai-shek killed the man she loved after Sun’s death – Deng Yan-da, a charismatic natural leader who had formed a Third Party as an alternative to the Communists and the Nationalists.

 

 


 

Jung Chang Author Photo

 

 Jung Chang is the internationally bestselling author of Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China; Mao: The Unknown Story (with Jon Halliday); and Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine who Launched Modern China. Her books have been translated into over 40 languages and sold more than 15 million copies outside Mainland China where they are banned. She was born in China in 1952, and came to Britain in 1978. She lives in London.

 

 

Far too busy? Yet somehow you're still easily distracted? Then you really must read Indistractable by Nir Eyal
15th October 2019

Far too busy? Yet somehow you're still easily distracted? Then you really must read Indistractable by Nir Eyal

 

Indistractable by Nir Eyal

 

Having spent years working in the advertising and gaming industries Nir Eyal was the right person to write Hooked, a bestseller about how modern products can be made in a way to be more seductive and addictive to consumers, and for companies to better understand how much their products influence our behaviour. Now, five years later Nir is once again looking at our behaviour in Indistractable, but this time it's to help us all to focus harder and how to manage both internal and external distractions. Forget those notifications on your phone, don’t even begin scrolling, and just get the job done!

Here you can read an exclusive extract from the opening Indisctrabable

 


 

What’s Your Superpower?

 

I love sweets, I love social media and I love television. However, as much as I love these things, they don’t love  me back. Overindulging on something sugary after a meal, spending too much time scrolling a feed or bingeing on Netflix until two in the morning were all things I once did with little or no conscious thought – out of habit.

 

Just as eating too much junk food leads to health problems, the overuse of devices can also have negative consequences. For me, it was the way I prioritised distractions over the most important people in my life. Worst of all was what I let distractions do to my relationship with my daughter. She’s our only child and, to my wife and me, the most amazing kid in the world.

 

One day, the two of us played games from an activity book. We turned to a particular page and answered questions designed to bring dads and daughters closer together. The first activity involved naming each other’s favourite things. The next project was to build a paper aeroplane with one of the pages. The third was a question we both had to answer. The question was: ‘If you could have any superpower, what would it be?’

 

I wish I could tell you what my daughter said at that moment, but I can’t. I have no idea because I wasn’t really there. I was physically in the room, but my mind was elsewhere. ‘Daddy?’ she said. ‘What would your superpower be?’

 

‘Huh?’ I grunted. ‘Just a second. I just need to respond to this one thing.’ I dismissed her as I attended to something on my phone. My eyes were still glued to my screen, tapping away at something that seemed important at the time but could definitely have waited. She went quiet. By the time I looked up, she had gone.

 

I had just blown a magical moment with my daughter because something on my phone had grabbed my attention.  On its own, it was no big deal. But if I told you this was an isolated incident, I’d be lying. This same scene had played out countless times before.

 

I wasn’t the only one putting distractions before people. An early reader of this book told me that when he asked his eight- year-old daughter what her superpower would be, she said she wanted to talk to animals. When asked why, the child said, ‘So that I have someone to talk to when you and Mom are too busy working on your computers.’

 

After finding my daughter and apologising, I decided it was time for a change. At first, I went extreme. Convinced it was all technology’s fault, I tried a ‘digital detox’ and started using an old-school cell phone so I couldn’t be tempted to use email, Instagram and Twitter. But I found it too difficult to get around without GPS and meeting addresses saved inside my calendar app. I missed listening to audiobooks while I walked, as well as all the other handy things my smartphone could do.

 

To avoid wasting time reading too many news articles online, I subscribed to the print edition of a newspaper. A few weeks later, I had a stack of unread papers piled neatly next to me as I watched the news on TV.

 

In an attempt to stay focused while writing, I bought a 1990s word processor without an internet connection. However, whenever I’d sit down to write, I’d find myself glancing at the bookshelf and soon started flipping through books unrelated to my work. Somehow, I kept getting distracted, even without the tech that I thought was the source of the problem.

 

Removing online technology didn’t work. I’d just replace one distraction with another.

 

I discovered that living the life we want requires not only doing the right things, it also requires that we stop doing the wrong things that take us off-track. We all know eating cake is worse for our waistline than having a healthy salad.  We agree that aimlessly scrolling our social media feeds is not as enriching as being with real friends in real life. We understand that if we want to be more productive at work, we need to stop wasting time and actually do the work. We already know what to do: what we don’t know is how to stop getting distracted.

 


 

Nir Eyal - Indistractable

Nir Eyal spent years in the video gaming and advertising industries where he learned the techniques described in Hooked to motivate and influence users. He has taught courses on applied consumer psychology at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and at Fortune 500 companies. His writing on technology, psychology and business appears in the Harvard Business Review, the Atlantic, TechCrunch and Psychology Today.

 

 

Read an Extract from Living with the Gods, the astonishing new paperback from Neil MacGregor
7th October 2019

Read an Extract from Living with the Gods, the astonishing new paperback from Neil MacGregor

Living with the Gods by Neil MacGregor

 

Neil MacGregor's fascinating new paperback is a panoramic tour of 40,000 years of spiritual and religious beliefs, seen through objects, monuments and shared narratives. Beginning in the Ice Age, it explores how societies have understood their part and place in the universe. It’s sumptuously illustrated throughout and is a pleasure to dip into or read chapter by chapter. Read an extract below, introducing the enigmatic Lion Man statuette.

 


The Beginnings of Belief

 

On 25 August 1939 two men were excavating at the back of Stadel cave in the Hohlenstein cliff, not far from Ulm in south- west Germany. The area, just north of the Danube, was known to contain remarkable material from the Ice Age, and it was hoped that this cave might yield some new finds. It was the last day of the dig: as everybody knew, war was about to break out. Both men – the anatomist Robert Wetzel and the geologist Otto Völzing – had received their call-up papers for the German army.

 

As Wetzel and Völzing were preparing to pack away their tools, they made a discovery. Forty metres in, in a further, smaller cave, they found many tiny fragments of mammoth ivory which looked as though they had been worked by human hands. But there was no time to examine the fragments, or to begin to work out what they were or what they might mean. They were packed away with other material from the excavation, and put into temporary storage, and the two men went off to war.

 

Wetzel briefly noted in a local scientific journal in 1941 that he and Völzing had made a ‘sensational’ find, but for thirty years no one really knew what they had discovered. The finds from the dig lay in crates housed first at Tübingen University, then in an air raid shelter in Ulm, before finally reaching the city museum there. The task of sorting and publishing the material from the cave excavation of thirty years previously was eventually given to its curator, Joachim Hahn, in 1969.

 

The Lion Man

 

Within just a few days, something remarkable happened. Hahn and two colleagues realized that 200 or so of the mammoth ivory fragments could be put together to form a standing figure, around thirty centimetres in height. What was more, this figure was human – but not entirely so. In its incomplete state, Hahn thought it might be part bear. But with the incorporation of more fragments discovered some years later, the full pattern finally became clear. This was indeed a human body, but with the head of a lion. He quickly became known as der Löwenmensch, ‘the Lion Man’.

 

Legs apart, arms a little out from his sides, he stands upright, perhaps on tiptoe, leaning slightly forward: a macho, somewhat aggressive pose. The calves, carefully shaped, are clearly human, and the navel is just where it ought to be on a model of a man. The upper body is slender, more feline, but on top of it are strong shoulders and an extraordinary head.

 

Jill Cook is the British Museum’s expert in deep history:

This is the head of a cave lion, common in Ice Age Europe, and bigger than the modern African lion. The head is looking at us with a powerful, direct gaze. The mouth seems almost to smile. The ears are cocked, and inside them you can see the small opening for the auditory canal. When you look in detail at the back, you can see behind the ear little furrows, formed where the muscles contract to turn the ear in order to listen. This is not a human being wearing a mask. This is a creature, albeit a creature that cannot exist. And he is attentive, he is listening, he is watching.

 

Radiocarbon dating indicates that the Lion Man is around 40,000 years old, which means it was made towards the end of the last Ice Age, a dating supported by information gathered from other material found in the area. If that is indeed the case, as seems probable, then this small sculpture holds a unique place in human history. It is not just a supreme representation of two closely observed species: it is by some margin the oldest evidence yet found of the human mind giving physical form to something which can never have been seen. For the first time that we know of, a combination which could exist only in the imagination, an abstraction, has here been made physically graspable. Nature has been reimagined and reshaped, the boundary between human and animal dissolved. The Lion Man represents a cognitive leap to a world beyond nature, and beyond human experience.

 


 

Neil MacGregor was the Director of the British Museum 2002-2015. He was Director of the National Gallery in London from 1987 to 2002. His celebrated books include A History of the World in 100 Objects, now translated into more than a dozen languages and one of the top-selling titles ever published by Penguin Press, Shakespeare's Restless World and Germany: Memories of a Nation.

 

 

Read an extract from the new Tuva Moodyson mystery, Red Snow
5th October 2019

Read an extract from the new Tuva Moodyson mystery, Red Snow

Red Snow by Will Dean

Red Snow is the second Tuva Moodyson novel from Will Dean. Dark Pines, the first in the series, introduced the determined investigative journalist as she unravelled a series of grisly murders that led her into the depths of the frozen forest surrounding the small Swedish town of Gavrik. In Red Snow, Tuva is drawn into another mystery, this time centred on the liquorice factory at the heart of the town. Dean brilliantly captures the long, dark, cold winters and the isolation and claustrophobia of small town life. Red Snow is a dark, compelling novel with a cast of complex, and occasionally eccentric, characters. We’ve an extract from the book, below.

 


He hits the cobbled area in front of the factory, in front of the arch, and his head breaks like a watermelon.

 

One person screams.

 

One.

 

A singular howl from a woman standing behind me.

 

‘Get Thord,’ I say to Janitor Andersson. ‘Get the police.’

 

But he just stands there looking down at the man on the cobbles and then up to the chimney and then back down to the man. More people are coming out now, fastening coats and adjusting hats and gasping as they work out what just happened.

 

I see someone head off to the police station all of one minute away so I run into the factory lot and the snow is turning red.

 

‘Stay with me,’ I say, louder and more forcefully than I’d expected, but it’s no use, he is the most dead person I have ever seen. His limbs are twisted and his arms are pulled in tight to his cracked head like a child in deep sleep. I feel useless. I can’t help this broken man, I can’t do anything for him.

 

Thord arrives at my side and takes the man’s pulse and moves his cold ungloved hands toward the man’s head but then stops because what good would it do?

 

He leads me away from the body and turns around and after a while an ambulance pulls up.

 

‘Out of our way,’ says one of two paramedics.

 

They get to work and I stagger a few steps back toward the iron gates and half of Gavrik has turned out now; took some of them a while to get their outdoor gear on I guess, their boots and their mittens and their jackets and their bobble hats. But they’re here now.

 

I feel faint so I let my back rest against the railings. I slouch down and notice a speck of pink snow on my boots and I think I’ll pass out but I don’t. And then I hear scream number two.

 

A well-dressed woman runs out through the factory arch and throws herself down next to the dead man. The paramedics retreat for a moment like they know who she is and they can’t do much anyway.

 

‘Step back, everyone,’ says Thord, his arms outstretched, walking toward the street, toward the crowd of ski jacket people. ‘Best thing you can all do is step back and return to your offices and your homes. Step back, please.’

 

And they do. Because they’re Swedes and because they can’t see much now that the ambulance is blocking their view, and also because it’s minus nineteen, maybe less.

 

An old couple walk off up the street consoling each other.

 

Constable Thord looks at me.

 

‘You alright, Tuvs?’

 

I nod.

 

The woman who threw herself down at the dead man, I’m pretty sure he was the boss of the factory and she’s his wife, Anna-Britta I think her name is, she’s wailing now, quietly sobbing from behind the ambulance. Chief Björn turns up and says something to Thord and then heads over to the body and pulls off his hat. It’s getting dark now, whites turning into greys.

 

A Volvo taxi drives past slowly and another cop arrives. The new one. She started last week and that story made my front page. I can only see her back right now, black hair under her police hat, a tortoiseshell grip holding it all together. She turns and I see her face in this dull light and her eyes flash to me.

 

 ‘We’re gonna close up the gates,’ Thord says, frost in his eyebrows, a red-haired woman passing behind him. ‘Need to take photos and whatnot, and also talk to witnesses so maybe you can help me get a list together, seeing as you were here?’

 

I nod to him. ‘Sure. Now?’

 

‘Head over to the station in, I don’t know, about an hour, an hourand-a-half.’

 

‘Okay.’

 

‘Best if you get back to your office now. Sorry you had to see that.’

 

I photograph the chimney and the ambulance on my phone. After I turn my back on the scene, on the frozen weight of what has just happened, I can still feel the power of it behind me. It’s uncomfortable to turn my back, to shun it, the brick factory and those two chimneys and the dead man broken in the snow. The shadow, the shadow of all of it, is stretching down Storgatan, and I follow it for a few minutes, a black Mercedes 4x4 skidding away as if to escape the chimney’s darkness, and then I turn left and open the door to Gavrik Posten.

 


Will Dean author photograph

Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. He was a bookish, daydreaming kid who found comfort in stories and nature (and he still does). After studying Law at the LSE, and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden. He built a wooden house in a boggy clearing at the centre of a vast elk forest, and it's from this base that he compulsively reads and writes.

 

 

Furious Thing by Jenny Downham
3rd October 2019

Read an exclusive Q&A with author Jenny Downham and an extract from her bold new novel Furious Thing  

Furious Thing by Jenny Downham

 

Furious Thing is the new novel from Jenny Downham, acclaimed author or Before I Die.  Anger is hard to deal with even as an adult, but teenager Lexi is dealing with a wealth of difficult problems at home, and her anger is building....towards a rage and fury that is close to overwhelming her. This brave novel portrays the complex and challenging nature of adult and parent-child relationships, with genuine sensitivity and nuance, and here you can read a short Q&A between Foyles children’s buyer Kirsty and Jenny, followed by an exclusive extract from the novel

 


Q&A

  • Can you tell us a little about Furious Thing and what motivated you to write it?

It’s about a 15-yr-old girl, Lexi, who’s wildly rude and always in trouble.   She’s not academic or popular and everyone blames her for the things that go wrong. But actually there’s a person in her life who’s messing with her mind.  She drops things when they’re around - loses her words, feels stupid, forgets stuff.  She doesn’t do these things on purpose. Or with anyone else. And when she finally speaks out – she has trouble expressing what’s happening or getting anyone to believe her.  This person’s like a magician casting spells to change her and everyone else’s perception of reality. This kind of abuse is called controlling and coercive behaviour or ‘gaslighting’ and I wanted to unravel its invisible chains and expose it through Lexi’s story. It was recently made illegal, but as a society we still find it a slippery thing to define. We don’t really talk about it. We find it hard to see in our own lives, almost impossible to see in others’ lives and yet it’s everywhere. 

 

  • Is the book in any way autobiographical or based on real life events or experiences?

I’ve certainly experienced controlling behaviour in relationships. I think many people have instances in their lives where they ‘chose’ to do something out of fear rather than desire. But my novel is fiction. I find it’s the best way of telling the truth. 

 

  • Do you think that female rage is taken seriously enough in young women?

Female rage is often dismissed or pathologized, whereas in men, it’s more likely to be viewed as a strength. Male rage protects, defends and allows men to lead, whereas furious women are frequently seen as irrational or crazy. We train girls from a young age to be amenable and empathetic.  We train boys to see ‘softer’ emotions as weak. It’d be great to ungender emotions, but until that happens, I hope we can find more ways to take female anger seriously. 

 

  • What advice would you give to people who struggle to control their temper or who bottle up their feelings?

Unprocessed anger is bad for us – bottle it up and it can lead to mental and physical illness. Let it out uncontrolledly and it’s equally difficult to manage. But people often have justifiable cause to be angry and that shouldn’t be dismissed. Anger is an expression of passion.  It’s saying that what you are feeling matters. My advice would be to try and work out why you’re angry and then find ways to speak about it and make change.  

For people in Lexi and her mum’s position – my advice would be to contact an organisation such as Women’s Aid who will talk through options and listen to concerns and priorities. Safety and wellbeing are paramount and it’s vital to get support in place.   

 

  • How much blame should we place on Lexi's mother for her anger?

It’s a basic misunderstanding of how abuse works that the victims are so easily blamed. Mum fails to protect her child.  But this is because she’s had her strength and resolve eroded. That’s what abuse can do. The question, perhaps, should be less about who is to blame and more about how people best learn to recognise when they are being abused and what they can do about it.

 


A Monster in Our Midst

I was often bad after that. It was like something came over me.

If it were a movie, I’d grow extra muscles and my T-shirt would rip, but it was just my life, so all that happened was I’d knock a plate to the floor or drop a cup or accidentally swear and John’s attention would turn on me. It reminded me of the way Granddad used to hunt for snails at night with a headtorch. They’d get caught in a beam of light and he’d pick them up and dunk them in a bucket of salt water. John would switch his beam on me and shout and wave his arms around and tell Mum I was out of control.

Once, I took John’s favourite ashtray (the one he’d had since being a student) and smashed it on the kitchen floor. Mum had been washing it in the sink and knocked it against the tap.

‘Oh shit,’ she said. ‘Oh, sodding hell.’

I snatched the two halves from her and flung them.

‘Lex!’ she said. ‘No!’

She probably thought she could have fixed it with glue and John would never have noticed the crack. But he would have.

He came bounding in. ‘My ashtray!’ He dropped to his knees to get a better look at the damage.

‘It was annoying me,’ I said.

‘Go to your room,’ he whispered.

I went to my bedroom and sat by the window. It was ages before I was allowed out.

The first time he grounded me, I ran away. I sat on the low wall at the front of Ben and Meryam’s house and watched them eat together. I couldn’t hear a word they were saying, but I liked watching them. When I got home, I wouldn’t say sorry and John wouldn’t let me eat supper. It was fish pie and I said I didn’t care. I said it looked like vomit.

It was different when Kass came to stay. He’d dare me to put chilli powder in John’s pyjamas or fake soap in his bathroom or salt in his tea, and if we got caught it would just be funny. If John ever got mad when Kass was there, we’d hide in the laundry cupboard or climb the tree and drop down to the cemetery and lose ourselves for hours.

One time, after Kass had gone home and I knew I wouldn’t see him for ages, I got a bus by myself and stood in the dark at the bottom of his block of flats and longed for him to come back. I thought about asking his mum if I could live with her instead. I stood there for so long trying to pluck up courage that by the time I got the bus home, Mum was hysterical, thinking I’d been abducted.

I wrote her a note saying, I wish we were a pair of whiptail lizards.

She looked it up and discovered they’re an all-female species.

‘Why would you wish such a thing?’ she asked.

I said I didn’t know.

John was trying to be a good father to me, she said. But I wasn’t making it easy. I needed to make more of an effort. The world was a difficult place and we all had our crosses to bear.

 


Jenny Downham - credit Barker Evans

Jenny Downham trained as an actor and worked in alternative theatre before starting to write. Her first book, Before I Die, is an international bestseller. It won the Branford Boase Award and was shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. Her second novel, You Against Me, won the Waterstones Teen Fiction Prize, and her third novel, Unbecoming, was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and won the Stonewall Honor Award from the American Library Association. Jenny lives in London. She hopes that Furious Thing encourages more girls to make a noise so that their voices can be heard.

 

 

The Poetry Pharmacy Returns by William Sieghart
26th September 2019

Wise words and poetic prescriptions, for when only a poem will do - The Poetry Pharmacy Returns by William Sieghart

The Poetry Pharmacy Returns - William Sieghart

 

Having established the Forward Prizes for Poetry and founded National Poetry Day, it’s beyond accurate to say that William Sieghart really knows poetry. After several other successful collections, Sieghart curated The Poetry Pharmacy in 2017, which struck a chord with poetry lovers and poetry novices alike, and scored incredible sales, while at the same time earning some impressive fans, with Stephen Fry and Alain de Botton among them. 

Now, two years later Sieghart has pulled together a new collection The Poetry Pharmacy Returns, which will once again prove invaluable when only words and poems will help; when you need a little support or motivation, reassurance you're not the only one, or when you want to raise the roof and celebrate. Here you can read an exclusive extract from the start of the collection, giving an insight to just how the idea of the pharmacy began

 


 

The History of the Poetry Pharmacy

 

I’ve always believed in the power of poetry to explain people to themselves. More than twenty years ago now, I used to flypost a poem around London at the height of the windows of a doubledecker bus. Called ‘The Price’ by Stuart Henson (included in the first of these books), it’s the kind of poem that has enormous impact and power, especially when encountered unexpectedly, so I’d put it underneath bridges, where I knew the buses would have to come to a halt in traffic. It was almost a guerrilla tactic –confronting people with a poem I knew would startle them – but I was also confident it might help them in some way.

 

Although I didn’t think of it that way at the time, that may well have been the first incarnation of the Poetry Pharmacy. The Pharmacy proper began much later, while I was being interviewed at a literary festival in Cornwall, England, about a more traditional anthology I’d just brought out. A friend of mine, Jenny Dyson, had the idea of allowing me to prescribe poems from that book to audience members after the talk. She set me up in a tent, with two armchairs and a prescription pad. It turned out to be all I needed. The hour we had originally planned for came and went, and then a second, and a third, until, many hours later, I was still in there, with queues of people still waiting for their appointments.

 

I realized that we were on to something. Suffering is the access point to poetry for a lot of people: that’s when they open their ears, hearts and minds. Being there with the right words for someone in that moment – when something’s happened, when they’re in need – is a great comfort, and sometimes creates a love of poetry that can last a lifetime.

 

After Cornwall, I brought the Poetry Pharmacy to BBC Radio Four. I was asked back to do it again at Christmas – one of the most stressful times of year, as we all know – and then on BBC television, and into the pages of The Guardian newspaper. Meanwhile, I never stopped doing my personal consultations. I toured the country, offering poetry pharmacies in libraries and festivals. In all of this, I learned how much most people’s heartaches have in common. The objects and their circumstances might change, but there’s nothing like listening to people’s problems in leafy Kensington and then a council estate in Liverpool for making you realize the basic spiritual sameness that runs throughout humanity

 

I must have listened, over those first few years, to nearly a thousand people’s problems. And then, in 2017, came the first Poetry Pharmacy book: a compilation of prescriptions that I had seen work time and again, for fifty- six of the problems that really matter. Gratifyingly, readers took those poems to their hearts with just as much enthusiasm when encountering them on the page as they had in person. The Poetry Pharmacy became one of the bestselling poetry anthologies of recent decades, and I found myself on the road more than ever before.

 

I wrote in that first volume that some of my prescriptions so inspired people that they seemed to leave their chair a foot taller than when they sat down. The same is no less true of the fifty seven new prescriptions gathered in the book you now hold. They are road- tested. They answer real problems, faced by real people – and they work. Seeing the difference the right poem can make written on so many faces continues to give me confidence in poetry’s power to change lives.

 


 

William Sieghart - The Poetry Pharmacy Returns

William Sieghart has had a distinguished career in publishing and the arts. He established the Forward Prizes for Poetry in 1992, and founded National Poetry Day in 1994. He is a former chairman of the Arts Council Lottery Panel, and current chairman of both the Somerset House Trust and Forward Thinking, a charity seeking peace in the Middle East and acceptance of British Muslims. His previous anthologies include Winning Words: Inspiring Poems for Everyday LifePoems of the Decade: An Anthology of the Forward Books of Poetry, 100 Prized Poems: Twenty-five Years of the Forward Books, and The Poetry Pharmacy.

 

 

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