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Christina Patterson
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Christina Patterson is a writer, columnist and broadcaster. She writes about current affairs, society, politics, books, culture, travel and the arts. She has interviewed writers and artists ranging from Martin Amis and Philip Glass to Werner Herzog, and did the first interview after he left office with Gordon Brown. A former director of the Poetry Society, and literary programmer at the Southbank Centre, she has written for most of the British national broadsheets, as well as for magazines like the Spectator, the New Statesman and Time. She’s a regular commentator on radio and TV news programmes, a regular reviewer on the Sky News press preview, and a regular guest on cultural programmes including The Review Show. She has also campaigned to improve standards in nursing in a series of articles in the Independent, by speaking at conferences, and in programmes she has made about nursing for radio and TV. After 10 years as a staff writer and columnist at The Independent, she is now freelance, writing mostly for The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for journalism 2013, and writes a blog, Independent Thinking at www.christinapatterson.co.uk .

Entries by Christina Patterson

The Pudding in Ed Miliband's Head

(0) Comments | Posted June 16, 2014 | 1:28 PM

If you're going to wreck someone else's dreams, you'd better have a pretty good excuse. Sometimes, it can't be helped. Sometimes, eggs have to be broken to make delicious meringues, even if one of those eggs turns out to be your brother. You have to break those eggs, because, although...

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On Remembering (And Not Remembering) Seamus Heaney

(1) Comments | Posted September 9, 2013 | 1:27 PM

I want to write about Seamus Heaney, but first I want to write about Nora Ephron. It's just over a year since Nora Ephron died. It is, in fact, a year and two months since Nora Ephron died. When she died, I was asked to write about her (for The...

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On the Death of Journalism -- and of My Career at the Independent Newspaper

(3) Comments | Posted September 7, 2013 | 9:39 AM

I'm on holiday. I didn't mean to be, but I am. I did mean to be here, in this tiny village, on a mountain in Spain. I did mean to be sitting on this hillside, gazing out at olive groves, and pine trees and a blue, blue sky. But what...

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Why It's Time for Galleries to Dump the Jargon

(7) Comments | Posted February 9, 2013 | 10:52 AM

Do you like nature, and art? If so, you might like something called On Vanishing Land, produced by British "sound artists and theorists" Mark Fisher and Justin Barton. What they've produced, which is in an art gallery in London called The Showroom from February 6, is "a new form of...

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We Know What Works in Nursing. Now Let's Do it.

(32) Comments | Posted February 9, 2013 | 5:44 AM

It's almost every day. On Tuesday, it was the nurse who phoned the wrong family five times to tell them that their mother, who was sitting up in her hospital bed, had died. On Sunday, it was the survey which showed that fewer than 10 per cent of nurses thought...

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'I Dream of a Farm and Making Bread': Interview With Minnie Driver

(1) Comments | Posted February 7, 2013 | 5:30 PM

Minnie Driver must be cold. It's freezing outside. There's snow outside. I'm in a woolly dress, and scarf, and boots, and have just tried to defrost my fingers with the hand dryer at Carluccio's, and I'm cold. Really cold. So Minnie Driver, who isn't in a woolly dress, and scarf,...

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What We Can Learn From Sharon Olds and Sylvia Plath About Poetry and Confession

(0) Comments | Posted January 24, 2013 | 9:28 AM

"Now I come to look at love," says Sharon Olds, "in a new way, now that I know I'm not/ standing in its light." She says this in her poem "Unspeakable," in her collection Stag's Leap, which last week won the T S Eliot prize for poetry. It's just one...

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Can World Leaders Please Listen to Barack Obama's Words About War?

(1) Comments | Posted January 23, 2013 | 8:42 AM

Only his daughter yawned. When the 44th President of the United States of America stood, in the bitter cold, in front of 900,000 people, and told them what he wanted to do for their nation, only his youngest daughter yawned. She was cold, and tired, and 11 years old, and...

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If You Want Older People to Work Longer, You Have to Give Them Jobs

(59) Comments | Posted January 19, 2013 | 12:58 PM

On Saturday, my mother fell down the stairs. She got off the stairlift, put her foot on the second-to-last stair, and slipped. She didn't call an ambulance, because my mother thinks breaking an ankle so badly that it needs to have plates put in it is no reason to call...

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At Last, Some Films That Acknowledge That People Get Old

(6) Comments | Posted January 3, 2013 | 10:31 AM

"Who is it," says a character called Cissy in Quartet, "who said 'old age is not for sissies'?" The character, played by Pauline Collins in Dustin Hoffman's first film as a director, can't remember.

But then she can't remember quite a lot of things. In this, she is like many...

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What Politicians Could Learn About New Year's Resolutions

(0) Comments | Posted January 2, 2013 | 4:03 PM

On Sunday, I gave away my mince pies. I had got to the point where I didn't really like a cup of tea without one, and when you drink as much tea as I do that adds up to an awful lot. I had, it's true, just had a three-course...

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The Conference That Showed That Compassion Can Be Taught

(1) Comments | Posted December 7, 2012 | 7:17 PM

Everyone smiled. The woman who greeted me on the door smiled and the woman who told me where to register smiled and so did the woman who gave me a badge. Perhaps these women always smile, or perhaps they thought they had to. Perhaps they thought that if you were...

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If We Want Kinder Nurses, We Need a Kinder Society

(1) Comments | Posted December 7, 2012 | 2:00 PM

It doesn't happen all that often. It really doesn't happen all that often that something you've been hoping for is announced on the morning news. You could, I suppose, have sung a little song as you leapt out of bed because a bundle of cells would one day be a...

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Harry Potter Grows Up: An Interview With Daniel Radcliffe

(15) Comments | Posted December 3, 2012 | 12:57 PM

"I've got to start," says Daniel Radcliffe, "by saying my mum sent me a column you wrote." For a moment, I'm thrown. I've got half an hour to interview one of the most famous young men in the world, which is less time than I've ever been given to interview...

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Lunch (and Several Drinks) With Shane MacGowan

(4) Comments | Posted November 25, 2012 | 1:06 PM

Age takes its toll. If, for example, you're a rock star who became very, very famous 30 years ago for taking traditional Irish music and giving it a wild, punk twist, and you also liked a drink, then you might not look quite as sprightly as you used to. And...

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What I Learned From Hollywood's 'Guru of Gurus' About Why Stories Matter

(3) Comments | Posted November 24, 2012 | 12:20 PM

He's the "guru of gurus." He's a "master of the form and a servant of the craft." He's "legendary," according to the Washington Post, and "brilliant," according to Newsday, and "empowering," according to Movieline. He is, in fact, Hollywood's "most wanted screenwriting teacher," and has been for 30 years. "Everything...

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Cancer Is a War the West Probably Can't Win

(16) Comments | Posted November 2, 2012 | 6:43 PM

Illness, said Susan Sontag, "is not a metaphor." It isn't, in other words, a battle you can fight, or a war you can win. Cancer, she said, and she had it at the time she said it, isn't a curse, or a punishment, or an embarrassment. Cancer, she said, in...

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What One Axed BBC Report About Sex Abuse Can Teach Us About Truth and Power

(5) Comments | Posted October 26, 2012 | 3:07 PM

She doesn't look well. The woman with the pale face, and wispy hair, who's gripping a handkerchief as if it were a lifeline, really doesn't look all that well. "He asked me," she tells the woman who's interviewing her, on what should have been Newsnight, but was Panorama,...

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"Every Word of the Bible is True": An Interview With Alice Cooper

(19) Comments | Posted October 17, 2012 | 12:26 PM

Alice Cooper is telling me about a goat. At the Bloodstock festival, which he has just been to, everyone, he says, was talking about a goat. "The story," he says, with a smile that shows his big, white, even teeth, "is that someone's sacrificed a goat in their dressing room....

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The Left Is Pro-Choice, But Not Quite So Pro-Debate

(4) Comments | Posted October 17, 2012 | 11:13 AM

The low point seemed to be the plastic doll. The low point of this discussion, which has been going on for the past 10 days, and also for years, seemed, at the time, to be a little plastic doll. The plastic doll, which was fished out of a pocket by...

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