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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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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Great Gatsby… hair and nails!

It’s official – you can now style yourself as if you’ve just stepped out from a page of The Great Gatsby. Maison dAnu has launched its ‘Gatsby Collection’ range of nail varnishes: ‘four new colours that shimmer with 1920’s glamour’. The shades available are: • Green Light – Metallic Dark Green • Gatsby – Metallic […] [...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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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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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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Egypt’s revolution: in Tweets

A highly recommended book I recently reviewed – how the Egyptian revolution unfolded, as told by Cairo-based Twitter users. I think it might even be the first book of its kind published in this format. The story of the Egyptian revolution told through the eyes of Cairo-based tweeters By Alice Johnson There is only so […] [...more]

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Why do journalists make such bad managers?

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Why I write

It seems this is an obligatory blog post – for writers to write why they write. To list their reasons, specify their work ethic, explain their craft. So, here’s my list. Why I write 1. To empty my head of all the words overrunning it 2. To tell everyone my ideas 3. To become a […] [...more]

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