The Diary: Sebastian Barry; Caryl Churchill; Esther Rantzen; Big Art Project; Grayson Perry

Spirited Scripture?

The author Sebastian Barry has revealed that he did some soul-searching before using the memory of a beautiful great aunt who had been sectioned for "terrifying moral reasons" (a child out of wedlock, perhaps?) as the inspiration for his latest award-winning yarn, 'The Secret Scripture'. A previous incident in which the novelist had mined family biography left lasting family friction. He explains: "I had been looking for relatives who had never been mentioned in my family... but I was concerned I would be using her just as everyone else used her. Years ago, my grandfather was very upset about a particular [incident involving Barry's writing] in the 1980s. It was tragic as we never spoke again." Barry says the first chapter had taken him seven months to write before the main character "told me her story". Even if the character was "channelled" in this way, it was done so most poetically.

A play for Gaza

The playwright Caryl Churchill has turned her pen to supporting the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, it would seem. She's written a short play called 'Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza', to be staged at the Royal Court Theatre for free from 6 February. A collection will be taken for the Medical Aid for Palestinians charity.

That's life

Esther Rantzen, the television personality and general "force to be reckoned with", was seen rearranging the seating arrangements at her table at the glittering Costa Book Awards dinner in the ballroom of the Intercontinental Hotel in Hyde Park, London. Guests' place-cards were shuffled about by Rantzen so she could spend the next few hours beside the desired dinner companion. After great manoeuvring, she apparently found herself with an empty chair on one side, while the rest of the table happily socialised with whoever happened to be beside them.

Big Art doesn't equal big support

Channel 4's Big Art Project, launched to encourage ordinary folk to have ideas for public artworks, has come a cropper in a fair few cases – including an artwork incorporating the Tinsley towers, suggested by two design graduates, Tom and Tom. After Eon demolished the towers, the men moved out of Sheffield in disgust. The project to transform the Beckton Alp into an artwork was shelved when the mound was discovered to be toxic. Meanwhile, protest against an artwork designed to create a "murmuring" effect emanating from Cardigan Bay is gaining momentum.

Has Claire got style?

Grayson Perry's female alter ego Claire may be about to have her fashion sense severely challenged. The cross-dressing artist is the subject of a photo essay in February's 'Art World' magazine, in which he styled himself for a fashion shoot and then subjected him/herself to the judgement of fashion critics. His garments include a felt coat with circus prints, a chiffon smock over a satin corset with Swarovski crystal-encrusted faux breasts and male genitalia, and a quilted print romper suit. Let the commentary begin.

Arts and Entertainment
By Seuss! ‘What Pet Shall I Get?’ hits the bookshops this week
Books
Arts and Entertainment
The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after Enola Gray and her crew dropped the bomb
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Elliott outside his stationery store that houses a Post Office
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

Film review Tom Cruise, 50, is still like a puppy in this relentless action soap opera

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Attwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
    Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'