Alicia McGivern, head of education at the Irish Film Institute in  Dublin. She has an acquired hearing loss that progressed to deafness, then a cochlear implant

The recent film A Quiet Place had reviewers delving for words to describe the film’s use of deafness as plot point and, in particular, the role of the(...)

Barbara Ehrenreich almost revels in explaining how little control we actually have over our lives. Photograph: David Scull/The New York Times

The day I was due to talk to Barbara Ehrenreich to discuss her new book, Natural Causes: Life, Death and the Illusion of Control, a beloved uncle died(...)

The idea of a cult of busyness and boasting about how busy we are isn’t new. Photograph: Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty

I’ve sunk into the corner of my sofa. It’s twilight, but to find the energy to reach over and switch on the lamp feels utterly impossible. I feel like(...)

Dr Maureen Gaffney: “I think we’re dispositionally optimistic. We don’t have American-style optimism. I think the Irish one is captured by the word ‘grand’. It’s kind of ambiguous.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons Fostering positivity: Psychologist Dr Maureen Gaffney. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

In 2006, when the economy was at full throttle, powering inexorably towards a cliff that had yet to loom into view, the annual Gallup survey of nation(...)