Things Are Against Us: Lucy Ellmann at TIFA

October 24, 2021 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Things Are Against Us: Lucy Ellmann at TIFA

Following on from the global phenomenon, Ducks Newburyport, award-winning author Lucy Ellman jauntily tackles the obstinacy, incorrigibility and recalcitrance of things in her collection of essays, Things are Against Us. Join us for an entertaining conversation, led by interviewer Jessica Johnson, editor-in-chief of The Walrus, on everything from the annoyance of male supremacy to the nobility of buttons, and how she stitched together so many seemingly disparate ideas into such a cohesive, satirical collection. The event will take place on Sunday, October 24 at 1PM EDT.

Register for this event here!



Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. As Yeats pointed out, things have a lot to answer for. These satirical essays jauntily tackle the obstinacy, incorrigibility, and recalcitrance of things, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s unimpressive descriptions of the construction of bobsleds and door latches, and the way we try to stand on our own two feet, put our best foot forward, remain footloose and fancy-free, and inevitably put our foot in it. They also cover the first suggestion the internet offers when you look up the word ‘women’ (spoiler: it’s shoes) and other annoyances (some fatal) of male supremacy, the nobility of buttons, and what the rejection of tourists by Jordanian donkeys should mean for global travel (stop!). Ingrid Bergman and Jane Austen come into it somewhere (Helen Gurley Brown was forcibly removed).

Early versions of some of these essays have appeared in international outlets of record, but others are brand-new and ready for your delectation.


Here’s the thing: Lucy Ellmann is extremely shy. She’s so awkward and self-conscious that meeting strangers, or almost anyone, exhausts her. She’s lousy at remembering names. She cannot add or subtract. She hates having appointments in her diary and prefers to wear the same outfit every day. She’s a helpless iconoclast much prone to anger. She’s also distrustful, lazy, and easily hurt. She is not a team player. She prefers interrupting people to organising them, and cries if she doesn’t get her way. She fears she’s neglected everybody she knows, and vice versa—not to mention people she doesn’t know. She can’t stand protocol, committees, business hours, ceremonial occasions, and filling out forms. And she never wants to be carried through a crowd on a palanquin. Otherwise, the world’s her oyster! She has written seven novels, including Sweet Desserts (Guardian Fiction Prize) and Ducks, Newburyport (Goldsmiths Prize, James Tait Black Memorial Prize), and an illustrated book for adults, called Tom the Obscure. This is her first essay collection


Get your copy of Things Are Against Us from Biblioasis here!