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In Defence of Rights

Philippe Sands and Helena Kennedy, 3 January 2013

... We were appointed to the Commission on a Bill of Rights in March 2011 by Nick Clegg. The circumstances were not auspicious, and we were concerned from the outset that our composition – all white, almost all male, almost all lawyers and London-based – would undermine our ability to speak with any legitimacy. The Conservatives had come into government committed to tearing up the Human Rights Act, an early product of the previous Labour government seen by many of the new government’s Tory supporters (and some in the media) as little more than a charter for foreign terrorists and local criminals ...

Take Myra Hindley

Nicola Lacey, 19 November 1992

Eve was framed: Women and British Justice 
by Helena Kennedy.
Chatto, 285 pp., £16.99, October 1992, 0 7011 3523 9
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... sense of the political importance of the history of criminology. But hang onto it we must, for, as Helena Kennedy’s Eve was framed shows, criminological ideas have material and often damaging effects on the ways in which women are treated in and around the criminal process. Until recently central questions of social justice bearing on the status ...

Peroxide Mug-Shot

Marina Warner: Women who kill children, 1 January 1998

... to whom children must never speak. The canting word for a sex offender in jail is ‘nonce’. Helena Kennedy, in her valiant book Eve Was Framed, tells of hearing a story from a woman client about another inmate at her prison, a foster parent who had killed babies in her care, cut them up into pieces, and sent the pieces in the post to their natural ...

Making It

Melissa Benn: New Feminism?, 5 February 1998

Different for Girls: How Culture Creates Women 
by Joan Smith.
Chatto, 176 pp., £10.99, September 1997, 9780701165123
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The New Feminism 
by Natasha Walter.
Little, Brown, 278 pp., £17.50, January 1998, 0 316 88234 8
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A Century of Women: The History of Women in Britain and the United States 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Penguin, 752 pp., £20, June 1997, 0 670 87420 5
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... It is more likely to be Harriet Harman, Clare Short, Barbara Follett, the recently ennobled Helena Kennedy or even Cherie Booth, of whom the ‘ordinary woman’ will have heard and whom she will admire. As Joan Smith notes in Different for Girls, a collection of writings on women and culture, the most loved female figures of recent ...

Rinse it in dead champagne

Colm Tóibín: The women who invented beauty, 5 February 2004

War Paint: Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden: Their Lives, Their Times, Their Rivalry 
by Lindy Woodhead.
Virago, 498 pp., £20, April 2003, 1 86049 974 0
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Diana Vreeland 
by Eleanor Dwight.
HarperCollins, 308 pp., £30, December 2002, 0 688 16738 1
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... Arden, one of the world’s richest women, lined the inside of her shoes with newspaper, or that Helena Rubinstein’s lawyer chose ‘the budget option’ at the funeral parlour after her death until wiser counsel prevailed, or that Diana Vreeland’s hair was so hard that once, when her maid bumped into it with a tray, ‘it clinked.’ 1905 was the ...

Scotch Urchins

Denton Fox, 22 May 1986

Alexander Montgomerie 
by R.D.S. Jack.
Scottish Academic Press, 140 pp., £4.50, June 1985, 0 7073 0367 2
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Letters of King James VI and I 
edited by G.P.V. Akrigg.
California, 546 pp., £32.75, November 1984, 0 520 04707 9
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The Concise Scots Dictionary 
by Mairi Robinson.
Aberdeen University Press, 819 pp., £17.50, August 1985, 0 08 028491 4
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... between the few facts are filled, and on how much the verse is taken to be autobiographical. Helena Shire finds him to have been ‘a personable and distinguished young man, a witty and convivial companion’; Cranstoun sadly remarks that ‘fawning submissiveness, spiteful rancour, and lack of manly purpose – strange combination of weaknesses from ...

I am a knife

Jacqueline Rose: A Woman’s Agency, 22 February 2018

Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus 
by Vanessa Grigoriadis.
Houghton Mifflin, 332 pp., £20, September 2017, 978 0 544 70255 4
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Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus 
by Laura Kipnis.
HarperCollins, 245 pp., £20, April 2017, 978 0 06 265786 2
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Living a Feminist Life 
by Sara Ahmed.
Duke, 312 pp., £20.99, February 2017, 978 0 8223 6319 4
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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body 
by Roxane Gay.
Corsair, 288 pp., £13.99, July 2017, 978 1 4721 5111 7
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Difficult Women 
by Roxane Gay.
Corsair, 272 pp., £13.99, January 2017, 978 1 4721 5277 0
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... if they can see torn knickers and proof that the victim was beaten,’ the human rights QC Helena Kennedy has said about the ‘ideal’ victim in rape trials in the UK, but even the signs of resistance have to be more than the odd bruise, which defendants explain away as the result of vigorous sex-play and playful pinching. The paradox is that ...

Hopi Mean Time

Iain Sinclair: Jim Sallis, 18 March 1999

Eye of the Cricket 
by James Sallis.
No Exit, 190 pp., £6.99, April 1998, 1 874061 77 7
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... New Orleans, the setting for Sallis’s Griffin novels, is a mob town with murky connections to Kennedy conspiracies, voodoo, vampire faggots, jazz, child brothels and all the trash, black and white, of the Delta. It wasn’t a place – with its ‘meaty, rich smell of frying shrimp’, its ‘palms, hibiscus, yucca trees and rubber plants’ – to be ...

Stinking Rich

Jenny Diski: Richard Branson, 16 November 2000

Branson 
by Tom Bower.
Fourth Estate, 384 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 1 84115 386 9
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... thing the very rich and very famous could be relied on to do was shut up. Paul Getty, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Princess Grace of Monaco wrapped their money around themselves in the form of impenetrable walls and/or designer sunglasses and kept silent while the world wondered and chattered. And you would imagine that if money could do anything for you it ...

The crocodiles gathered

Neal Ascherson: Patrice Lumumba, 4 October 2001

The Assassination of Lumumba 
by Ludo De Witte, translated by Ann Wright and Renée Fenby.
Verso, 224 pp., £17, July 2001, 1 85984 618 1
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... and power of those who were determined to destroy him. The Americans – Eisenhower and then Kennedy – regarded Lumumba as a dangerous Communist who would take the Congo into the Soviet camp; even after his overthrow and imprisonment, Allen Dulles said that he ‘remained a grave danger as long as he was not disposed of’; there was some talk of a CIA ...

Ten Poets

Denis Donoghue, 7 November 1985

Selected Poems 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 124 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 9780856355950
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Collected Poems: 1947-1980 
by Allen Ginsberg.
Viking, 837 pp., £16.95, April 1985, 0 670 80683 8
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Instant Chronicles: A Life 
by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 58 pp., £4.50, April 1985, 9780019211970
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Selected Poems 
by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 139 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 596 8
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Selected Poems 
by Jeffrey Wainwright.
Carcanet, 79 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 598 4
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Selected Poems 
by Gillian Clarke.
Carcanet, 112 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 594 1
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The Price of Stone 
by Richard Murphy.
Faber, 92 pp., £4, May 1985, 0 571 13568 4
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Selected Poems 
by Iain Crichton Smith.
Carcanet, 121 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 597 6
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Selected Poems 
by Sylvia Townsend Warner.
Carcanet, 95 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 585 2
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From the Irish 
by James Simmons.
Blackstaff, 78 pp., £3.95, May 1985, 0 85640 331 8
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... Gaulle, Kosygin, or the bullet pierced neck of John Kennedy – these poems tell you how it was, I suppose. Beyond that, they show what is wrong with the American Romanticism they proclaim, and not what is right with it. That there are responsibilities, and not merely rights, in the tradition of American poetry ...

All That Gab

James Wolcott: The Upsides of Sontag’s Downsides, 24 October 2019

Sontag: Her Life 
by Benjamin Moser.
Allen Lane, 832 pp., £30, September 2019, 978 0 241 00348 0
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... 11 of Moser, or in Alice Kaplan’s Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis (2012) – highly recommended. From Paris, it was on to New York. Meeting Partisan Review’s co-editor William Phillips at a party, Sontag, now a single mother living on a shoestring, got right to ...

Ghosting

Andrew O’Hagan: Julian Assange, 6 March 2014

... he ghosted his autobiography? To what extent did Ted Sorensen create the verbal manner of John F. Kennedy when he wrote Profiles in Courage, a book for which the future president won the Pulitzer Prize? And are the science fiction stories H.P. Lovecraft ghosted for Harry Houdini not the best things he ever wrote? There would be a touch of all this in the ...

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