On my radar: Audrey Niffeneggers cultural highlights

The writer on the latest Laurie Anderson release, enjoying the Syfy channel and the London gallery shes fallen in love with

Audrey Niffenegger is an American writer and artist born in Michigan in 1963 and now living in Chicago. In 1997, she had an idea for a sci-fi romance graphic novel about involuntary time travel. It becameThe Time Travelers Wife, her bestselling 2003 debut novel (and subsequently a film). Her books since include Her Fearful Symmetry, The Night Bookmobile, and Raven Girl. Bizarre Romance, a collaboration with her husband, Eddie Campbell, is out now (Jonathan Cape).

1. Exhibition

Charlotte Salomon. Life? OrTheatre?

Charlotte
An extraordinary graphic memoir: Charlotte Salomon painting in her garden, circa 1939. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Charlotte Salomon made her extraordinary graphic memoir, Life? Or Theatre?, to stave off despair during her exile from her native Berlin to her grandparents home in France during the Nazi occupation. [In hundreds of paintings and drawings] she recounts the suicides of family members, the disastrous effect of the Nazis on her life, and the philosophical education she receives from her stepmothers singing teacher. I have seen this several times, most recently at the Royal Academy. It is now at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, with extra, revelatory pages that have been in her familys collection.

2. Documentary

Jazz (Ken Burns, 2000)

Duke
Watching the series intensified my respect: Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong in Ken Burnss series, Jazz. Photograph: AP

Ive always liked jazz, especially early New Orleans and Chicago style jazz, but I never felt knowledgeable about it, not in the deep way I know about rocknroll. My collaborator and husband, Eddie Campbell, loves it, knows about it and is always playing it at our house, and so it seemed desirable to improve my sense of jazz history. Ken Burnss documentary TV series did the trick. Its not light-hearted: racism, drug abuse and poverty have informed this divine music. Watching the series has intensified my respect for jazz musicians. Its a place to begin to listen.

3. Place

House of Illustration, Granary Square, London N1

Illustrator
They want you to draw: Quentin Blake at the House of Illustration. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

I have fallen in love with the House of Illustration, near Kings Cross in London. This beautiful new gallery, founded by Quentin Blake in 2014, is dedicated to illustration and the graphic arts. At the moment they have a quirky exhibit of North Korean graphics until 13 May. They have a charming bookshop, and they want you to draw. To help, they have loads of fun workshops: Medical Illustration, Creating Graphic Novels, Illustrating the Animal Kingdom. Its easy to be happy there.

4. Television

The Magicians, Syfy

The
Fun, occasionally brilliant: The Magicians on Syfy. Photograph: Syfy

I did not own a TV until two years ago and so I never had a clue about television shows and I was pretty snobby about that. Now I watch TV and some of it is delightful. Anyway, I am a devoted fan of author Lev Grossmans beautiful Magicians Trilogy he gets at the yearning confusion of late adolescence, the need to transcend our human limitations and the certainty that we will fail at this. But, oh, wait: magic is real. The TV show The Magicians, on Syfy is fun, occasionally brilliant, and diverges from the books in interesting ways.

5. Library

The London Library, StJamessSquare, SW1

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Marissa SafontOn my radar: Audrey Niffeneggers cultural highlights

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