From the editor
I LOVE a good thick book and a narrative so you’d think Charles Dickens would be my line of country. Not entirely, I must say, although I’ve seen my share of the miniseries, read a couple of the biographies and seen Miriam Margolyes and Simon Callow do their Dickens shows. Like him or not, Dickens has always been pretty much inescapable, but even more so this coming week, in which the 200th anniversary of his birth falls. To mark the occasion we asked a group of our critics to sift through the output and rate it for you, and there’s an interview with Margolyes, a great Dickens fan and interpreter who has just started a national tour of Dickens’ Women. We round off the Dickens-o-rama with an assessment of the latest biography, by Claire Tomalin. She also wrote The Invisible Woman, a wonderful piece of detective work on Ellen Ternan, the young woman for whom Dickens left his wife. All that should satisfy Dickens lovers, although if you’re not one, read anyway. He’s one of the few writers who truly cast a giant shadow on his own age and beyond. JUST space for a word about a recent flying visit to Hobart to see The Barbarians, a new opera by Con Koukias. It was commissioned by MONA FOMA, the funky music and art festival backed by David Walsh of MONA fame and directed by musician Brian Ritchie. I saw only the opera, but the vibe was wonderful and Hobartians told me it extended across the festival. No disrespect to the Sydney Festival, which swallows up one’s entire January, but I wish I’d been able to be in Hobart a lot longer than I was. The cloning option again, perhaps?