Friday High Five: Defending the dole, A.M. Homes and Wes Anderson

A.M. Homes on motherhood and ‘running away to Australia’

We’re excited to be welcoming the marvellous A.M. Homes, author of the bestseller (and Women’s Prize for Fiction winner) May We Be Forgiven, to the Wheeler Centre next Monday night. Just before ‘running away to Australia’, as she puts it, she’s written an affecting blog for Penguin US on motherhood and what it means to her - as a mother and a daughter.

‘Mothers are the one soup to nuts relationship in your life; you’ve got them from beginning to end, and so I am all about celebrating it. There are things about the mother/child relationship that should not be unique to that intimate bond but in fact should be part of our culture, the way we live–think about compassion, acceptance, the idea that you matter, your needs, desires and dreams have a place here. Wouldn’t it be nice if the world could be a little more like a “good-enough” mother?’

Sam Twyford Moore in defence of the dole as a safety net

Emerging Writers Festival director Sam Twyford Moore had a terrific piece in the Guardian yesterday in passionate defence of the dole as a safety net for young people, while they figure out what they want to do with their lives, and in times when they’re between jobs as they start their careers. He speaks from personal experience, explaining how the dole helped him to find his feet and his career.

‘We need to fail to find out what we are good at. To carve the right path, you need to head down many. And without a safety net of unemployment benefits during periods of uncertainty – when you’ve found one path is a dead end, before taking the next – well, you’re creating an unimaginative workforce, fearful of taking risks, right at the stage when they should be doing exactly that.’

Wes Anderson chats with Stefan Zweig’s biographer

Wes Anderson’s latest movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, was inspired by the writing of Stefan Zweig, particularly his books The Post Office Girl and The World of Yesterday (his memoir). In a fascinating interview at the Telegraph, he chats to Zweig’s biographer, George Prochnik, about his passion for the author and how Zweig’s life and work inspired the film, from its content to its storytelling structure.

‘Vienna was a place where there was this great deep culture, but it was the equivalent of rock stars — it was the coolest thing of the moment. It was completely popular, and that was Vienna. Zweig was living in the dead centre, ground zero place for this. And he was living there up to the point that it came to an end. ’

John Green: The YA author who’s bigger than a movie star

The Wall Street Journal looks for the moment when John ‘The Fault in our Stars’ Green went from being internet famous to just plain famous. Two weeks ago, at the first screening of the film, the author attracted cries of ‘I love you!’ that he had to quiet in order to speak, finding himself more the centre of attention than the film’s stars, also in attendance. Despite this, Green says he’s better known for his internet persona than his novels - and he spends most days making his ‘Crash Course’ YouTube videos.

Why Mean Girls is a classic

It was the tenth anniversary of Mean Girls last week, and a spate of articles about its classic status, most of them proving that its snappy dialogue is key, as they revel in quoting it. At the New Yorker, Richard Brody does all that, but also takes a thoughtful and insightful look at the mechanics of the movie, and why it works so well. It’s a nice mix of personal engagement and professional knowhow.

‘When I mentioned to my daughters that it’s the tenth anniversary of the release of Mean Girls, it was no news to them: the firstborn, now twenty-one, is wearing her “You can’t sit with us” T-shirt, and her sister, sixteen, is dressed in pink (it’s Wednesday). ’

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