“A woman at work asked ‘what exactly are you?’”

A woman at work asked ‘what exactly are you?’, I said we are Arab and Sephardi Jews, that my grandparents came from Syria and Turkey, and that some of our ancestors came from Spain and that’s why we spoke French.

From Claudia Roden: A Book of Middle Eastern Food, a BBC Radio 4 dramatisation, by Anjum Malik, of the creation of Claudia Roden’s recipe collection A Book of Middle Eastern Food.

This line jumped out at me because of the sheer complexity of identity it invokes. Is there a single work of fantasy or science fiction out there with an alien race / elf society / invented human ethnicity which contains a fraction of the intricate history, geography, and culture glanced at in that brief description?


“Human beings can get hung-up on their own stories”

Cat’s enjoy their lives without needing to turn them into stories. Human beings, very often, because they see their lives as stories, they want to create the story that is to come, but we know that’s very difficult, unless you’re really writing a book. […] Human beings can get hung-up on their own stories.

John Gray, on Desert Island Discs

Research Matters!

Front Row this evening on BBC Radio 4, interviewed Peter Kosminsky about his new TV drama The State, a TV drama about the very serious and controversial subject of IS. Kosminsky said that he spent 18 months researching before he started writing, and that he had an “experienced research team” – amazing isn’t it, research matters!

(That’s it, I have nothing more to add, I just want this noted down where I can find it again easily.)