Category Archives: Journalism

Warsaw Diary

      There was a long queue at passport control at Warsaw’s Chopin airport  on arrival from London. ‘Never happened before’ said a young polish lady. I and another British national   looked at each other with the thought passing through our minds- is Brexit already with us? It turned out there were a couple of police officers who had turned up late for their shift and in the end we all swept through the EU lane relatively smoothly- but for a few minutes it  did make one think, how …

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‘Silence': A film worth discernment

I am grateful to Father Nye,  a wise old Jesuit friend for advising me to go and see and make my own mind up about Silence which arrived at my local London movie house on New Year’s Day. ‘Only don’t expect  humour. It doesn’t have any’, ‘he added. Up to that point a reading of some reviews  had led me to thinking I might avoid it.  The suggestion was  that this was an overlong and dark  film, with a somewhat leaden dialogue, a miscast central character, and containing scenes of …

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Francisco o la Nemesis de Trump

Francisco o la Nemesis de Trump Bienvenido a México, Papa Francisco, tierra de la Chingada, donde te  acercas a esa frontera con el Norte, a la periferia, a la riqueza, a la intolerancia de Trump. Como escribo en mi libro Papa de La Promesa (Stella Maris, Barcelona) , que se publica esta semana : Francisco representa la mayoría de todo lo que Donald Trump encuentra objetable. Me gustaría enumerar todo esto, sin ningún orden en particular: La amabilidad y la tolerancia hacia las minorías, y otras razas y religiones. La …

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John le Carré & Graham Greene

Review of Adam Sisman’s Biography of John le Carré pubilshed in The Tablet 17 December 2015 As admirers of Graham Greene will know, espionage can provide the context for exceptional novels. Few living writers have learned that lesson as well as David Cornwell, better known as John le Carré. Le Carré, like Greene, drew from his own experience in the intelligence servies to produce some of his best work: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, relatively early on in his writing career, and …

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John Cavadini review of Pope of Good Promise in The Tablet

Francis: Pope of good promise 15 October 2015 by Jimmy Burns, reviewed by John Cavadini In his lively, sometimes compelling biography, Jimmy Burns sets out to offer his reader “fresh insight into a key spiritual figure of our times”, cautioning the reader that, nevertheless, this is “not a hagiography”. It is not, he assures us, the story of a “picture-book saint”, but of a “complex man” with a “mixed record”. For example, the book’s most searching chapter, “The Dirty War”, sifts through the evidence for the Jesuit provincial Jorge Bergoglio’s …

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Catholic Herald Book Review

Book review: From ‘little devil’ to rescuer of fallen women by Jane Taylor posted Thursday, 8 Oct 2015 The future Pope Francis greets the faithful in Buenos Aires in 2009 (AP) This latecomer on the Pope Francis biography scene is fresh, vivid and beautifully crafted Francis: Pope of Good Promise by Jimmy Burns, Constable, £25 With so much now on record about Pope Francis and at least three weighty biographies by well-known Catholic writers published during the past two years, the question has to be: what’s new here? Jimmy Burns …

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12 people who ruined Catalonia

From a haughty count to a tax fraudster, via a very vengeful dictator. By Jimmy Burns 9/29/15, 5:36 PM CET Updated 10/2/15, 11:54 AM CET As pro-independence parties win a majority in the local Parliament but fall short of 50 percent of the popular vote, we name 12 people responsible for Spain’s potential constitutional crisis. 1. Wilfred the Hairy: Perhaps the Knight of the White Moon who defeated Don Quixote on Barceloneta beach was really Wilfred the Hairy — Guifré el Pilós in Catalan. The legendary 9th Count of Barcelona, …

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From Viña del Mar 1906 to London 2012: A Chilean family story

From Viña del Mar 1906 to London 2012 – A Chilean family story “Mientras escribo estoy ausente,Y cuando vuelvo ya he partido, voy a ver si a las otras gentes les pasa lo que a mi me pasa… “While I write I am absent and when I return I have already left; I am going to  find out if other people experience the same thing as I do, if they are as many as I am, if they look like each other, and and when I have found all this …

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Politicos poco transparentes, periodismo sin rigor

Cuando amigos me preguntan qué ventajas veo en ser hijo de madre Española y padre Anglo-Sajón/ Escocés, respondo,  citando a Valle Inclán, que es el privilegio de ver las cosas con la perceptiva de la otra ribera. Ser bi-cultural no provoca trastornos bipolares sino  al contrario puede, en un buen día, facilitar cierta claridad de perspectiva basada en la experiencia de lo bueno y lo malo de una cultura y la otra. Pues bien, doy gracias a dios que la profesión de periodista la aprendí en el Reino Unido, con …

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Keeping the BBC in perspective

Looking back over the thirty years I worked for  the FT, I still cannot believe how lucky I was to have worked for an organisation that believed there was such a thing as journalistic integrity. It meant that however difficult the assignment we were expected to get our facts right, and on stories of particularly sensitivity,  there were hierarchical checks and balances in place that went via down-table sub-editor to the editor, as well as legal ones, with a lawyer at the end of a phone, or if needs be, …

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