Freelancing: The Final Frontier

Six months in, and my newly-fledged career as a freelance journalist, copywriter, editor and all-things-word-related-provider is going pretty well, if I do say so myself. Of course, the first few months were quite tough and I went through what all freelancers go through: lack of payment, lack of work, lack of general ability to make […] [...more]

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Marina Lewycka recounts the hippie commune era in latest book

Published on 9th April, 2012, in The National newspaper By Alice Johnson What was the philosophy of hippie communes in the 1960s? The spiritual communities pursued non-violent beliefs, vegetarianism with plenty of lentils, left-wing politics and often free love. However, remembering this era and its actual purpose was one of the most difficult aspects for […] [...more]

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Life as an Expat Column: Dubai on a Budget

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A weird & wonderful collection!

Have you ever collected anything? Perhaps you were a secret stamp, coin or football card collector? Well, you won’t be able to beat the collections of Lorraine Ludman, whose been collecting ‘things’ all her life. She’s now got more than 60 collections, including hamburgers (plastic & tin), newspaper cuttings, cats (13 in total!) and other […] [...more]

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Is this the best book ever written?

The answer, in my opinion, is yes. For the first time in roughly 23 years, I am NOT on a diet. My weight has always gone up and down sporadically, where I’ve put weight on, gone on a diet, lost weight, put it back on again and so tried a different diet. Over these 23 […] [...more]

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Book Review: Taxi, by Khaled Al Khamissi

By Alice Johnson Dubai One of the only ways to get around in Cairo is by Taxi – any one of the city’s 80,000 beaten-up, smoke-filled cabs that navigate themselves around the capital’s chaotic, pot-holed streets. The hardships of life in Cairo – and indeed Egypt – are encapsulated by the city’s taxi drivers, who […] [...more]

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NOTW selling for £10,000 on E-bay!

How much would you pay for a newspaper? AED10? £10? Or maybe £10,000? The latter is what one (very hopeful) Ebay user wants this last edition of the News of The World (NOTW) to go for. Good luck with that venture… [...more]

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A lovely evening with crime writer Peter James

Spent a lovely evening last night at the Emirates Literature Festival event with the very witty crime-writer Peter James. The evening was held in the Lit Fest’s new ‘Literary Square’ in Bastakiya, Bur Dubai, and it’s lovely! It’s great to be able to sit outside in the balmy evening warmth now the heat of the […] [...more]

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Good quality Arabic children’s books on the rise

*Published on 15/11/2011 in The National By Alice Johnson The Arab world has a rich, centuries-old historic tradition of aural storytelling. Adults told each other stories around desert campfires and parents invented stories to help their children fall asleep at night. For this reason, children’s books written in Arabic are more of a modern product […] [...more]

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Unbound – the future of publishing?

I’m not sure why I’ve only just heard about Unbound, but it’s going to be the future of publishing. In much the same way as the music industry has taken note, publishers may soon be a thing of the past as the middle-men are cut out of the industry all together. Unbound has been described […] [...more]

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Brilliant cardboard reading chair!

Check out this brilliant reading chair – totally made of cardboard! It’s available from LuSSi Design in Sharjah, UAE, and has been designed by Giorgio Caporaso, along with these wicked bookshelves.   [...more]

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Book review – The American Granddaughter, by Inaam Kachachi

Review by Alice Johnson When Iraqi-American Zeina Behnam hears that the FBI is recruiting translators, she doesn’t hesitate to apply. Having watched the Twin Towers collapse on her TV screen right in front of her eyes in her living room, she feels a mixture of excitement and vulnerability. What could she do to help her […] [...more]

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Do you NaNoWriMo?

Back in 1999, Chris Baty had a ‘silly idea’ and convinced 20 of his friends to try and write a whole novel in a month. Today, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has spread across the world, tempting writers with itchy fingers to take on the crazy challenge. NaNoWriMo is also happening in the Middle East […] [...more]

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Community fostered by design – the MenaLabs Series

Tasmena’s MENAlab project offers members of society an interactive forum to identify and discuss the relationship between a city, its people and its culture By Alice Johnson, Special to Weekend Review Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News Participants during the launch of the new phase of the MENAlab 2011 by The JamJar in Al Quoz Have […] [...more]

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The best of… #lessexcitingbooknames

Ok, I don’t normally post threads from Twitter – in fact this is the first time! Some of these had me in stitches though, for hours! Here’s the best of #lessexcitingbooknames: @MrVilliers The Reasonably OK Gatsby @IntrovertedKev The Spy Who Came in With a Cold @Pocket_Books The Raisins of Wrath @Bertchester The Lie In, The […] [...more]

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