— Ellie Broughton

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I am a huge fan of LitHub – an American website started by a team including the founder of Electric Literature. I got a commission from features editor Jess Bergman via Twitter (a first for me) to cover literary bots.

Linguist and programmer Esther Seyffarth defined a bot in a Medium post last year as “a program or agent that generates content and posts it to Twitter automatically, following some schedule or reacting to some trigger.” In the case of Twitter’s literary bots, or “corpus-fed” bots, programmers take a body of work—for example, the text file of War & Peace as it stands at Project Gutenberg—and build a program that “reads” the novel, 140 characters at a time, “aloud” by publishing sensible whole-word extracts as tweets from a dedicated Twitter account.

Literature, in the manic context of Twitter, feels like a novelty—the joy of witnessing something, somewhere, committed publishing an entire work. But at times, the bots feels uncanny too. Coincidences that arise between their tweets and the memes, gifs and beef that frame them can be as disruptive as it is delightful. Novels, titles and poems “out of place” unsettle us: not amping our anxiety like the news does, but sounding through the fog to wake up something deeper. We double-take, re-read and find originality in repetition. (Read more on the site).

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As part of Time Out’s reviews team, alongside Ashleigh Arnott, Josie Ayre, Tania Ballantine, Elizabeth Darke, Kitty Drake, Danielle Goldstein, Steph Hartman, Andy Hill, Emma Hughes, Laura Richards and Yolanda Zappaterra, I reviewed Scandal Water at Punch Room at the London Edition.

Afternoon tea in the Punch Room nods back to the way it would have been in eighteenth and nineteenth century: tea is served without milk, there’s an open fire in winter, and muffins come in repro muffin-warmers. The rest of the tea is bang up to date, though, down to the cool London-themed willow-pattern china, the sustainable credentials of the tea, and our favourite twenty-first-century upgrade: punch. Choose three cups of loose-leaf tea, then food and punch are matched. Cheese shortbread, ganache tart and eccles cake came in canapé-sized mouthfuls that won’t sate the typical arvo tea appetite. But you didn’t come to Punch Room for the grub, did you? Read the rest of the review, and the rest of the round-up, online here.

Elsewhere on Time Out:

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I wrote an article about my tour of lighthouses in Madeira for Elsewhere, a quarterly travel writing journal published out of Berlin. It’s available to buy online, or from the MagCulture shop in Clerkenwell, London.

My writing sits alongside work about Ormside Street in Bermondsey, Indonesia, Prague, Hawaii and Rhoscolyn. Illustrations are by Julia Stone, one of the two editors of the journal.

Lighthouses are something I have written about before for the same journal, and I also previously wrote about the impact of Storm Desmond for the journal too in ‘The Language Of The Land Is Water‘.

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Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 13.46.52 Dana Lixenberg’s portraits of LA citizens like the one above are just one of the brilliant highlights at this year’s Deutsche Borse prize exhibition at the Photographer’s Gallery. I picked this, and eight other brilliant exhibitions, for Refinery29 UK reader to diarise in January.

Big retrospectives for Basquiat and Wolfgang Tillmans dominate the calendar, while the centenary of the Russian revolution brings not one but three major exhibitions to the city’s galleries that will cover everything from architecture to poster design.

Fashion fans also have treats in store: the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death gives the Royal Palaces an opportunity to display all the pie-crust blouses that made her the original people’s princess, and the V&A delivers a drool-inducing exhibition of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s work – a UK first.

For more features on the London events calendar for 2017, check back regularly, or see a special on London literary events I made for the Time Out website last year. Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 13.47.12

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Long before I ever moved to London, working at Time Out was pretty #careergoals, and this year I’ve been really happy to have had nine months of shifts with the magazine. I joined under Ashleigh Arnott, who’s now working for Waitrose, met Louise Schwartzkoff as she developed the new Culture & Events section, and now work with Sonya Barber who’s managing the launch of that section.

First day back from holiday and I get to see my street guide in print. Nice 🌞

A photo posted by Ellie (@elliebroughton_) on

Recently I’ve written street guides for Essex Road and Hanbury Street – both packed with great independent venues and cool new arts projects – as well as trying out a chiaroscuro class at the Royal Academy, learning about London’s black heritage in Tudor times, compiling this year’s online feature on New Year’s Eve parties for Olly Keen’s Nightlife section, writing and editing the listings for the mag, and writing about London Christmas rituals for a big collaborative feature in the front of the magazine. Lots of it is featured on my Muckrack page, as well as other features I’ve done this year, and I’m looking forward to filling 2017 with more brilliant London walks, talks, dinners, coffees, exhibitions and parties.

Walls of nudes at the chiaroscuro class at the RA. My dodgy rendition not pictured A photo posted by Ellie (@elliebroughton_) on

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