Originally published in qmunicate magazine, issue 123
When news of Harper Lee’s death broke, talk of her classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird dominated discussion. This is understandable. The book gained worldwide fame, and sold millions of copies. It is rare for a classic novel to maintain the love of its readers throughout the generations despite its ubiquity. I even made it through my higher English personal study with my love for Scout, Jem and Atticus intact. But Lee’s most recent novel, Go Set a Watchman, was absent from much of the commentary surrounding her death.
Originally published in the Glasgow Guardian, Issue 4 2015/2016
As the news of David Bowie’s death from cancer broke last Monday morning, the inevitable social media storm ensued within minutes. Celebrity death has always been an industry in itself, and the internet has only intensified the trend. Within hours of the announcement of Bowie’s untimely death, his records were shooting up the charts. Bookshops proudly displayed Bowie biographies in their windows whilst movies and documentaries featuring the late rock star trended on Netflix. I have no doubt that in the months to come Bowie merchandise and tribute albums will appear in abundance. Mass mourning has become as inevitable as celebrity death itself. However this attracts controversy too, from accusations of mourners jumping on the bandwagon to questions around the validity of grief for an individual we didn’t really know.