Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Food for thought: Frank McGuinness, playwright


The playwright’s new play The Hanging Gardens is currently at Abbey Theatre, Dublin until 9 November. He has just published his first novel, Arimathea.


I give one day a week to reading Shakespeare, to keep the mind alert. This morning I worked on King Lear. In the afternoon The Merchant of Venice, a brilliant and repulsive play about repulsive people.


Read a terrific new collection of stories from The Stinging Fly Press, Young Skins, by Colin Barrett, one of the best of the new Irish writers.


I was given three CDs by Laura Marling for my birthday, and have come to love her voice, especially on A Creature I Don’t Know. She has a heart-sore imagination.


My play The Hanging Gardens opens at the Abbey. Calm the nerves the best way I know, steep myself in Jane Austen, a chapter of Emma.


Go to see Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. Cate Blanchett is as good as they say, matched by Sally Hawkins, but the script seriously suffers from comparison with A Streetcar Named Desire.


Listen to Dublin band The Villagers’ excellent album, Awayland, which has been nominated for the Mercury Prize and deserves to win it. The lyrics are Chekhovian in their tenderness.


In London to see the great Strauss opera, Elektra, at Covent Garden. Before going, see the exhibition of Australian art at the Royal Academy, and it doesn’t do its subject justice.