Written by

John Mitchinson

John Mitchinson is a writer and publisher and co-founder of Unbound, the world's leading crowdfunding platform for books. He was previously Director of Research and a senior writer for the BBC TV show 'QI'. He is co-host of the popular books podcast Backlisted and a Vice-President of the Hay Festival. He writes a monthly column, 'The Upside Down', for Byline Times

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Topic: The Upside Down
Year: 2020
Topics: Timeline:
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The Upside Down: The Year of No Yule – How the Puritans Created Christmas Without Meaning To

, 8 December 2020
John Mitchinson explains how increasing intolerance around festivities in the 17th Century helped promote a reactionary backlash

The Upside Down: Why the Poetry of Claudia Rankine is Essential Reading for Right Now

, 2 November 2020
John Mitchinson considers how the author combines the integrity of an investigative journalist with a rhetorical urgency in a timely exploration of whiteness

THE UPSIDE DOWN: Very Like a Whale – We Need to Rethink Our Relationship with Nature

, 5 October 2020
John Mitchinson is back with another fact and fun-filled insight into the human animal and what we can learn from orcas and octopuses

THE UPSIDE DOWN: History’s Greatest Headline – Why the Dreyfus Affair Still Reverberates

, 7 September 2020
John Mitchinson reflects on what may be the finest moment in print journalism – the use of the press as a channel of truth and justice

THE UPSIDE DOWN: The Shocking Brutality of Empire was a Scandal In Its Own Time

, 6 August 2020
John Mitchinson considers the relationship British people have with their country's past and how questions raised by uncomfortable imperial truths remain unanswered

THE UPSIDE DOWN: Keep Clean and Carry On

, 4 May 2020
John Mitchinson explores how pandemics can have odd and unexpected consequences and ponders what the new 'normal' will be post-COVID-19

THE UPSIDE DOWN: The Eloquence of Saying Nothing

, 6 April 2020
John Mitchinson explores how being quiet and listening might help us to adjust to the isolation imposed on us by the Coronavirus – and beyond.

The UPSIDE DOWN: This Too Shall Pass – What Defoe’s Plague Journal Can Still Teach Us

, 30 March 2020
As the Coronavirus pandemic changes all of our lives, John Mitchinson reflects on how the observations of humanity revealed in such moments of crisis transcend time and place.

THE UPSIDE DOWN: Raising Hell – The Long Afterlife of William Blake

, 16 March 2020
John Mitchinson explores the lasting resonance of the works of the English poet and artist who attracted little acclaim during his lifetime.

THE UPSIDE DOWN: The Lie of the Land – We Need to Talk about the Enclosures

, 9 March 2020
John Mitchinson considers the economic and psychic dangers of land appropriation.

THE UPSIDE DOWN: Reasons to be Cheerful

, 24 February 2020
John Mitchinson sets out why the Greek philosopher Epicurus' legacy has been claimed by hedonism but actually represents the opposite and is so relevant for our anxious times.

THE UPSIDE DOWN: Mongrel Tongue – Is English Really So Special?

, 17 February 2020
John Mitchinson on why we should celebrate the success of the flexibility of the English language which enables its richness.

THE UPSIDE DOWN: Why Are We So Quiet About Language Death?

, 3 February 2020
John Mitchinson on why biodiversity helps explain why we are all impoverished by the loss of languages.

THE UPSIDE DOWN: Puppy Love

, 20 January 2020
Why do dogs and humans have such a special affinity? They tamed each other.

THE UPSIDE DOWN: Not So New New Year – The original Winterval

, 10 January 2020
John Mitchinson traces the significance of New Year and where the customs associated with it originated.

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