The 2019 Hot List: Here are your new cultural obsessions

From Dumbo and Downton to decadent dining and the most devourable reads... You're about five steps ahead now. You're welcome
The 2019 Hot List: Here are your new cultural obsessions

New year, new wave of zeitgeisty must-sees, must-reads and must-casually-drop-into-conversations. If 2018 was the year we lost our minds over Love Island, two royal weddings and the discovery of a healthy vegan lifestyle (at least for a week or so, anyway), what will 2019 have in store? With some help from those in the know, Grazia is here to break down exactly what’s coming. So when someone turns to you with a hot tip on the latest TV show, food trend or novel, you can simply yawn and say, "Oh, yes, I heard about that ages ago…"

Derry Girls


It looks like another fantastic year for TV, with a return of the excellent high-school sitcom Derry Girls (coming soon). If you still have time between the main channels, Netflix and Amazon Prime, Apple is joining the gang this summer with its first original production, The Morning Show. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, the drama goes behind the scenes on a breakfast show. Director Mimi Leder promises that "It deals with the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and women in power."


Following the success of 2017’s Get Out, one of the most-anticipated movies of this year is director Jordan Peele’s follow-up thriller Us, out in March, which stars Lupita Nyong’o and Elisabeth Moss. The same month, Tim Burton’s live-action Dumbo (with Eva Green and Colin Farrell) looks set to be visually spectacular – but can it ever compare to the original? And in the autumn, brace yourself for a movie spin-off of Downton Abbey, with Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery and the rest. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for Hollywood details such as a fast-paced motorcar chase or a dramatic pistol shoot-out in the drawing room.


This year welcomes Candice Carty-Williams to the literary scene. In 2016, best-selling author Jojo Moyes offered the use of her rural cottage to a wannabe novelist trying to finish a book; she selected Candice from more than 600 applicants. Now Candice has a six-figure deal for her debut novel, Queenie – the funny, poignant tale of a 25-year-old black woman living in London, straddling two cultures and not feeling that she entirely belongs to either. More than a little relevant to so many of us ex-pats in the UAE. Out 11 April (Dhs60, Trapeze).

Meanwhile, the new "Have you read The Miniaturist?" will be "Have you read The Binding?", the first adult novel from successful YA author Bridget Collins. It follows mystical bookbinder Emmett Farmer – if there’s a memory you want to erase, he can store it safely in a book and consign it to the shelves of his mentor’s workshop. "Gorgeous" and "spellbinding" is the consensus among those who’ve already devoured it. Out 10 Jan (Dhs60, The Borough Press).


Looking for something to intrigue your fellow passengers on the morning commute? Eleanor Morgan’s Hormonal, out in July (Virago), is another one to watch – it delves into the chemical workings of the female body and mind, tackling everything from PMS to antidepressants.


Food writer Laura Goodman is in favour of a more hedonistic approach to dining in 2019 (as you might expect from the author of a book called Carbs). Ice cream is her top tip: "It’s the best get-it-done pudding for dinner parties and everyone is wowed by it," she says. "Make all of Nigella’s no-churn ice creams, or buy yourself the cheapo Andrew James ice-cream maker and make chocolate sorbet, or one of the radiant scoops in Kitty Travers’ beautiful La Grotta Ices book [Dhs89, Square Peg]."

As for table dressing, forget your rustic, back-to-basics set-up of last year (bare farmhouse table, wildflowers in a jam-jar etc) and go glam. "I do think crumpled mousey linens might disappear," says Laura. "I’m looking at my sage ones right now, thinking it might feel good to start the year with fuchsia or yellow or a bit of lace. Lately, I’ve been eyeing up my parents’ crystal goblets, which I’ve always laughed at – but after a few tumbler years, I think I could get into some ostentatious glassware."



If you’re keen to redecorate for the third year running, but also feel guilty about it, a growing wave of sustainable interiors brands are here to slightly ease your conscience. Selfridges reports that this is the strongest theme in their interiors offering for 2019: they’ll be stocking innovative recycled products including Pentatonic’s tumblers (made from smashed smartphones) and cushions (made from plastic), as well as introducing Ashley & Co candles – a New Zealand brand that uses 100 per cent natural biodegradable wax and unbleached cotton wicks. 

Pentatonic cushion, Dhs379, Selfridges

Ashley & Co candle, Dhs179, Selfridges



When Roy Wood sang "I wish it could be Christmas every day", what he was yearning for, it turns out, was the invention of the non-festive wreath. Sara Gordon, creative director of boutique florist Bloom & Wild, says it’s going to take off in 2019: "We’re seeing more and more wreaths popping up outside of Christmas, made with dried and fresh flowers to grace doors year round." The brand often collaborates with Instagram influencer @all.thats.pretty. "She creates a floral wreath on a monthly basis with fresh stems and ones from previous bouquets." These can include whatever blooms are in season.

Photos: Unsplash, supplied and Instagram