From Baba Yaga to Hermione Granger: why we’re spellbound by ‘witcherature’

Vengeful, seductive, feminist, misogynist … witches have appeared in many forms in literature. Now a new generation of novelists are falling under their spell A witch is a woman who has too much power. Or, to quote the novelist #MeToo world, where Donald Trump a fan of the term witch-hunt is US president, it is really no surprise that female writers are examining the role of the witch in new ways. Since Trumps election, which inspired mass spell-casting by thousands of resistance witches (the selection of judge Circe, Millers reimagining of the story of the witch from the Odyssey. Shortlisted for the Womens prize and soon to become an HBO series, the novel sees Circe, a victim of rape, turn …

Swinging 60s surrealist Penny Slinger: ‘Collectors thought I came with the art’

She made psychic dolls houses, erotic wedding cakes and full-frontal collages. But the world wasnt ready for her powerful personal visions. Is Lady Picasso about to get her dues? Penelope Slinger has never done anything by halves. She remembers drawing her first really accomplished picture in 1952, when she was four and a half. It was of her parents completely naked. They were terribly proud but too embarrassed to show their friends. Then, when she was nine, she was expelled from her Surrey convent school for waving a sanitary towel out of a bus window. A child psychologist informed her parents that she wasnt mad, she was simply an artist, and they should do what they could to support her. …

Mothers who have abortions: what to do with TVs third rail?

Most women who terminate a pregnancy are already mothers but we rarely see that on screen. Australian comedy The Letdown is the latest show to tackle the taboo We got a beautiful email from a viewer last week, says Sarah Scheller, co-creator of the ABCs The Letdown. It said, That was my scenario. I cant believe I just saw it on screen. Women who have abortions are only just now beginning to see themselves depicted on screens, but for a certain subgroup women who are already mothers when they decide to terminate the taboo is stronger than ever. Its a taboo that Schellers low-key comedy was determined to quietly break. The Letdown follows Audrey: a middle-class woman, played by Schellers …