Ink Pellet’s book review section covers an eclectic selection of new fiction, teachers’ guides, audio books and classics.

Many of our reviews are written by teachers, so we have an expert eye on how texts will work in the classroom. We hope to create a useful archive of reviews so that you can use this as a reference. If you would like to join our panel of reviewers, please join in or email the editor We hope the section inspires you to share new fiction with your pupils or to revisit old favourites yourself

  1. A Hidden Gem

    A Hidden Gem  

    Graham Hooper made a long-awaited trip to Compton Verney in Warwickshire to discover a venue full of promise and perfect for school visits. Compton Verney is a good two-hour drive from home, and today in the lashing rain I find myself hoping that it’s going to be worth it. It’s a venue that I’ve been […]

  2. Coffee Break – Haruka Kuroda

    Coffee Break – Haruka Kuroda  

    Haruka Kuroda is an intimacy and combat specialist who worked on the recent BBC TV drama, Sherwood as well as on stage shows such as Starcrossed at Wilton’s Music Hall and The Lesson at Southwark Playhouse. Susan Elkin chatted to her. You’re an actor and voice over artist as well as fight and intimacy director. […]

  3. The Big Interview – A Voice in Demand

    The Big Interview – A Voice in Demand  

    Roderick – Roddy – Williams is an internationally renowned baritone, composer and teacher. He sings opera, oratorio and songs from various eras in concerts. Susan Elkin chatted to him. Roddy Williams is a very busy man. One of the best-known baritones of his generation, he’s on Radio 3 almost daily either because his many recordings […]

  4. 24 years Upstairs at the Gatehouse

    24 years Upstairs at the Gatehouse  

    Following up on our feature about small pub venues from the last issue, Susan Elkin went to discover how Upstairs at the Gatehouse continues to thrive. John and Katy Plews had always wanted to run a theatre of their own. So, once they felt they had sufficient experience they started to look at possibilities all […]

  5. Barney Norris

    Barney Norris  

    Like David Storey (1933-2017) whom he admired greatly, Barney Norris, 35, is both a playwright and novelist. Susan Elkin met him. As Barney Norris writes in two genres, I thought a bookshop would be the right place to meet. So we’re sitting congenially over coffee (him) and tea (me) in the basement café at Waterstones […]

  6. Mesmerising Installations

    Mesmerising Installations  

    Blown away by the Cornelia Parker exhibition at Tate Britain, Graham Hooper implores you not to miss this event. I’m going to begin by saying that I think Cornelia Parker, whose work is surveyed at Tate Britain in London until October this year, is, in my opinion, the nation’s greatest living artist. That’s a big […]

  7. Young people Speak Up across Manchester

    Young people Speak Up across Manchester  

    Following a successful pilot phase that began in Autumn 2021, the National Theatre’s Speak Up programme will work with young people in 15 secondary schools in Greater Manchester across the next three years. Speak Up is the NT’s new national programme which sees young people, who have been most affected by the pandemic, working in collaboration with local […]

  8. Coffee Break -James Camp

    Coffee Break -James Camp  

    James Camp, 30, is an actor who co-founded Half Cut Theatre in 2020. It’s a touring company working mostly in East Anglia and the southeast. Susan Elkin chatted to him. What first drew you to acting? Well, I grew up in South Cambridgeshire, where my parents still live, and was inspired by my aunty who’s […]

  9. Global Entertainment

    Global Entertainment  

    Kenny Wax is one of the country’s leading theatre producers with Six and The Show Goes Wrong series under his belt among many other productions. Susan Elkin meets him. Kenny Wax, 54, is a very focused man. Yes, the pandemic has made his life quite difficult, but the long gap means, he tells me, that […]

  10. Going down the Pub

    Going down the Pub  

    Exploring some of the smaller spaces offered by pub theatres, Susan Elkin suggests you keep them in mind when looking for alternative live theatre school trips. I seem to spend a lot of time in pubs. And no, it isn’t because I’m succumbing to football or alcohol dependency. It’s because there are so many flourishing pub […]