Cultural Life: Helen Lederer, comedian
Theatre: The most amazing production I've been to see this year was Ena Lamont Stewart's 'Men Should Weep' at the National Theatre with my daughter. I thought it gave real insight into the human spirit of life in Glasgow during the 1930s, in a way that was both funny and harsh. The set was designed on two or three levels, which gave it a dolls-house feel and the acting was superb. I particularly enjoyed Karen Dunbar's performance as Mrs Harris. I've seen her do stand-up comedy, so it was really interesting to see her in a different light as such a strong actress.
Books: I was lucky to be on the Orange Prize for Fiction judging panel this year. One book in particular that I really liked was called 'Mr Rosenblum's List' by Natasha Solomons, which tells the touching story of a Jewish refugee in the late 1940s, after the war, who was not allowed entry into a golf club and so embarks on a challenge to build his own. Subtly told and gently funny.
Visual Arts: I happened to be in Prague in June and saw Prague Quadrennial. They had a whole room devoted to the work of Samuel Beckett and the guy who had designed the installation was sitting in the room on his typewriter, so we were able to go and talk to him about his ideas and inspirations. I love interactive stuff like this.
Films: I went to see the film 'One Day', which I loved. I like to think that I discovered David Nicholls before anybody else did as I read his book 'The Understudy' long before he became so renowned. I think it's always interesting to see a film adaptation of a book, and I find I often have to separate the two. Despite people's criticisms of Anne Hathaway's accent, I thought she acted beautifully with Jim Sturgess. There was chemistry, and it's always magical to see that on screen.
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