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John Self is a freelance book critic based in Belfast. He has written for the Guardian, the Times and the Irish Times, among others.
Keun fled Nazi Germany, returning after false reports of her suicide to write about the lives of women in the 1930s and 1940s.
The book introduces us to Oulipo, an organisation founded in Paris in 1960 whose members and followers use artificial constraints on their writing.
These three distinct, urgent works act as a manifesto for art.