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From under the Duvet

Anna Vaux, 4 September 1997

Out Of Me: The Story of a Postnatal Breakdown 
by Fiona Shaw.
Viking, 224 pp., £15.99, April 1997, 0 670 87104 4
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... The day before giving birth to her second child, Fiona Shaw sat ‘clad’ in her overalls chipping concrete from the quarry tiles outside her cottage door. The nine months before that she had spent renovating the house and completing her thesis. She wrote and she swam every day, and went marching about in her ‘dungarees and desert boots’, with shiny hair, a huge appetite and ‘boundless’ energy ...

At the Half

Andrew O’Hagan, 20 May 2021

... they might at least produce a thimble of champagne. There are stars in this department. First, Fiona Shaw, an actress who has Olivier awards and a Bafta, but has yet to be nominated for Dressing Room Goddess of All Time, which she would certainly win. Starring in The Testament of Mary at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York, ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Enola Holmes’, 22 October 2020

... brings a special gothic nastiness to his part as the evil pursuer of the missing marquess, and Fiona Shaw, as headmistress of the school Enola at first avoids and is later condemned to, is something like Mrs Dursley if she’d managed to get a job at Hogwarts. Sam Claflin and Henry Cavill, as Mycroft and Sherlock, are pompous and ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Tree of Life’, 28 July 2011

The Tree of Life 
directed by Terrence Malick.
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... This is America in its disconnected, depopulated solitude. There is a grandmother, played by Fiona Shaw, but I didn’t know she was a grandmother till I read the credits. And the big event early in the movie is the death of Jack’s brother, the middle child, at the age of 19. No one seems likely to get over this, least of all the mother, who ...

‘Not I’

Adam Mars-Jones, 6 March 2014

... A request from Deborah Warner to stage an all-female Waiting for Godot (the intended casting was Fiona Shaw and Maggie Smith) was refused in the early 1990s, and her 1994 production of Footfalls with Shaw came up against the estate’s straitened sense of what was allowed to a director venturing onto hallowed ...


Marina Warner: Medea, 3 December 2015

... Medea has long attracted powerful female interpreters: Maria Callas in Pasolini’s film (1969), Fiona Shaw in Deborah Warner’s production (2001), and among writers, Toni Morrison, who slants the myth through her novel Beloved (1987), as does Marina Carr more directly in her play By the Bog of Cats (1998), which is set in a traveller community in ...

More Pain, Better Sentences

Adam Mars-Jones: Satire and St Aubyn, 8 May 2014

Lost for Words 
by Edward St Aubyn.
Picador, 261 pp., £12.99, May 2014, 978 0 330 45422 3
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by Charlie Hill.
Tindal Street, 192 pp., £6.99, November 2013, 978 1 78125 163 8
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... to their discussions. Luckily there seems to be no such attempt: a cultural eminence such as Fiona Shaw, one of the 2006 judges, strongly resistant to dilution, would be hard to refract safely away from recognisability. So Lost for Words can be acquitted of being a roman à clef, the type of novel Milan Kundera compared to a jacket that everyone ...

Wallpaper and Barricades

Terry Eagleton, 23 February 1995

William Morris: A Life for Our Time 
by Fiona MacCarthy.
Faber, 780 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 571 14250 8
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... one could always be highlighted at the expense of the other: in this shrewd, stylish biography, Fiona MacCarthy tells us that Stanley Baldwin once gave a speech on Morris which managed to omit all mention of his political activities, which would be rather like seeing Dickens only as a sanitation reformer. Less drastically, one can view Morris’s political ...

Cartwheels over Broken Glass

Andrew O’Hagan: Worshipping Morrissey, 4 March 2004

Saint Morrissey 
by Mark Simpson.
SAF, 224 pp., £16.99, December 2003, 0 946719 65 9
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The Smiths: Songs that Saved Your Life 
by Simon Goddard.
Reynolds/Hearn, 272 pp., £14.99, December 2002, 1 903111 47 1
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... I used to know a girl called Fiona who kept a joint diary with her friend Katherine. They wrote it most evenings in the desolate hours between the end of John Craven’s Newsround and the arrival of the ice-cream van on their housing estate, a period marked by the combustion of chip pans in the kitchens of the negligent, pans then carried hurriedly onto doorsteps and thrown into the air like torches at a Viking funeral ...

What he did

Frank Kermode, 20 March 1997

W.B. Yeats: A Life. Vol. I: The Apprentice Mage 
by R.F. Foster.
Oxford, 640 pp., £25, March 1997, 0 19 211735 1
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... Edward Martyn (‘moonfaced, obese, epicene, frantically Catholic’), the impostor poet ‘Fiona Macleod’, the manic McGregor Mathers, Scots Jacobite romantic (‘the comte de Glenstrae’), and Florence Farr, the actress for whose favours he competed for a while with Shaw and others, and for whom he had Dolmetsch ...

The BBC on the Rack

James Butler, 19 March 2020

... recruited many of the most prominent members of the intelligentsia to deliver talks – Keynes, Shaw, Woolf, H.G. Wells – and was responsible for much of the characteristic tone and content of British radio. Matheson and Reith had a difficult relationship. In 1931, he refused her permission to put Harold Nicolson on air to discuss Ulysses and Lady ...

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