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Japanese temple reflected in water

Haiku Competition winner

We were amazed and delighted to have 148 people enter and 455 entries to our first online competition. Thanks to our two judges, Ellen Phethean and Kathleen Kenny, we now have a winner and they have also selected five runners up.


The Great Fire

Although the current situation (May 2020) is difficult, at least the building and its contents are intact. That, however, was not the case after the great centenary celebrations of 1893 when it was only thanks to a postal worker on his way home that the building was saved.

Protester in Arab spring in Cairo

From the Arab Spring to the corona virus lockdown in Spain

From Epictetus to Erich Fromm. How there's nothing like a classic book to get you through a crisis.

Revisiting the Aesthetics of Imperfection

Everyone carries a metaphorical backpack through life wherein they collect the beautiful things along they way, but often also hold on to the burdens.

The beautiful things are sand roses, letters, best-loved books, and headphones so you can listen to Bach everywhere you go. Burdens are like the receipts and sweet rappers that accumulate at the bottom. They take up space.

The idea is to sort through your backpack regularly – this is an imperfectionist process of making compromises and responding to unpromising circumstances, which are an inevitable part of life. It is also a fundamentally spontaneous way of really ‘being where you are’. 

Pen portrait of William Shield

Who was William Shield?

A major force in the musical life of the North East and then London, he was a local lad who now has a whole annual festival in his honour.

Very old bound book

The Translation

When the plane landed at the tiny aerodrome in the forest it was snowing out of season. No sooner had the handful of passengers disembarked than the Junkers was turning to depart. A minute later it wa ...

Tyneside at War book cover

The Lit & Phil soldiers on

“The point of civilization is to be civilized; the purpose of action is to perpetuate society, for only in society can philosophy truly take place.”
― Iain Pears, The Dream of Scipio

Jigsaw puzzling

Even if all parts of a problem seem to fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, one has to remember that the probable need not necessarily be the truth and the truth not always probable.
Sigmund Freud
Two tin cans

What it says on the tin…

In 1813 the first tin canned goods were made for the Royal Navy by Bryan Donkin and John Hall who created the world's first commercial canning factory on Southwark Park Road in London. This very early example was presented to the Lit & Phil with an interesting background story...

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