Here's another set of five cultural delights that have been pleasing me of late:
1. THE ROBINSON INSTITUTE
I really enjoyed this immersive and thought-provoking exhibition from Patrick Keiller at Tate Britain. The Robinson Institute documents a walk through Berkshire, Buckingham and Oxfordshire undertaken by the mysterious Robinson, a fictional academic and 'scholar of landscape' who has featured in various films previously made by Keiller. Here, the Duveen Gallery is filled with clues to Robinson's journey and which point to his strange disappearance - potent photographs of cloudscapes and pylons, offbeat maps, unusual artefacts, landscape paintings and quirky black and white film clips, creating an intriguing web of ideas and references.
2. MARIA KALMAN
I love Maria Kalman's beautiful illustrations for Why We Broke Up, a new young adult novel from Daniel Handler (who is perhaps better known as Lemony Snicket). Kalman is the illustrator of numerous books for both adults and children, and has also created many covers for the New Yorker: I love the way she combines brightly-coloured illustrations with handwritten texts in her artworks. Pictured above is one of her images from The Pursuit of Happiness, a fascinating 'visual column' she wrote and illustrated for the New York Times in 2011: read it here.
3. A MONSTER CALLS
If you haven't read A Monster Calls yet, you must. Based on an original idea by Siobhan Dowd, this is an extraordinary and deeply moving children's book, in which a beautifully-written text by Patrick Ness mingles and merges with incredibly powerful illustrations by Jim Kay. It's no surprise that the book has just become the first ever to win both the Carnegie and the Kate Greenaway Medals. (I interviewed Patrick and Jim about winning these prestigious prizes here).
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5. WRITING BRITAIN
I'm never entirely convinced by the British Library's exhibitions: displays of beautiful old books are all very well but it might be more fun if you could actually read them. However, their latest exhibition, Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands, certainly has some real treasures in it for bibliophiles to enjoy. My highlights were a 1940s first edition Famous Five, the notebook in which Daphne Du Maurier planned Rebecca, the manuscript of Jane Eyre, a first edition of Mystery at Witchend by Malcolm Saville and the original manuscript of Cold Comfort Farm.