Decades of neglect led to this Northern Ireland water crisis

northern ireland water

Here is my latest article published in the Guardian:

Witnessing thousands queue in the cold and dark over the past two nights to collect water from depots across Northern Ireland, I’ve found it hard to understand how things could have gone this far. One member of the public described it as “scandalous”, a second as “unacceptable”, while others are speechless as to how to describe the current water crisis that has left about 80 towns and 36,000 homes without running water. Understandably, the public are angry and want somebody to blame. However, the crisis reveals more than just a lack of a foresight, but also longstanding neglect.

Published on 30-12-10. Read on here

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: 'the ultimate realist writer'

Here is my latest blog for Booktrust:

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Alexander Solzhenitsyn was born in Kislovodsk in the south of Russia on 11 December 1918. On the anniversary of his birth, I am looking back at the life and works of one of Russia’s greatest writers.

Solzhenitsyn was born into a family of Cossack intellectuals and studied Mathematics and Physics at the prestigious Rostov University in southern Russia. He went on to serve as an artillery officer in the army and despite growing up as a staunch supporter of the Soviet regime, he increasingly voiced his concerns over Stalinist policies. One day in 1945, a letter, in which he had openly criticised Stalin, was found and he was immediately denounced. He spent the next eight gruelling years in a gulag prison. Lucky to survive the ordeal, he was then internally exiled to Kazakhstan.

Published on 10-12-10. Read on here

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