These little piggies went to market. Photo: Corbis
Business as usual: how we are dominated by the language of markets
By Rowan Williams - 30 May 11:16

Rowan Williams reviews Mammon’s Kingdom by David Marquand and wonders if Britain has lost all sense of moral purpose.

Artistic licence: Dan Stevens (Gilbert) and Emily Browning (Florence) star in Summer in February
Why novelists have a duty of care to the past
By Jonathan Smith - 30 May 11:10

As a novelist working from facts, you have a problem. History is suspect, as are the motives and methods of those who write it. Nevertheless, the sources are the same as those of a biographer.

Domestic rhythms: queue outside a Bombay dry food store in the 1970s. Photo: Getty
A dazzling portrayal of domestic strife: The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee
By Jane Shilling - 30 May 11:08

In this novel of political activisim in 1960s Calcutta, Mukherjee's writing has fluent precision and a fine ear for the chaos of family life.

J R R Tolkien's Beowulf: one man's passion for the threshold between myth and reality
By John Garth - 29 May 16:00

The literary landscape has changed since Tolkien’s day in a way he would neither expect nor acknowledge: he is now more famous than the “fairy stories” that obsessed him.

Give me Samoa: goalkeeper Nicky Salapu in Next Goal Wins
Next Goal Wins: for once, a football film people might actually watch
By Mark Lawson - 29 May 15:51

And celebrating the unlikely kinship of Alan Bennett and Philip Roth. 

Not so satanic: a Bradford mill, now a Unesco heritage site. However it is a myth that most working-class Britons worked in industry. Photo: Getty
We’re not all middle-class now: Owen Jones on class in Cameron’s Britain
By Owen Jones - 29 May 11:25

The author of Chavs discusses Selina Todd’s “impassioned, much-needed” new book The People, noting how most Brits still stubbornly self-identify as working class. 

Glass box: Citigroup offices in Canary Wharf, September 2013. Photo: Getty
Is the office about to become redundant?
By Philip Maughan - 29 May 10:00

In 2014, the distinction between work and life, office and home, is poised to collapse. Members of “Generation Y” desire greater flexibility, with the ability to work where and when they want.

Master of elusion: J D Salinger
Bumptious theorising: why does J D Salinger inspire such blind devotion?
By Leo Robson - 29 May 10:00

While Rakoff’s memoir is full of fabrication and thin on revelation, Thomas Beller’s biography is free of insight and confessional to a fault. 

A student revises.
Gove’s provincial syllabus is not the issue: English literature GCSE is slowly being phased out
By Philip Maughan - 29 May 9:30

Reforms set to take effect from September 2015 will see English literature become an optional subject, reserved for only the brightest students, which will not count to schools’ Ofstead rankings.


Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou 1928-2014: An extraordinary mix of innocence and depravity, elegy and celebration
By Nicci Gerrard - 28 May 15:04

From the archive: Nicci Gerrard on Maya Angelou's second volume of autobiography, Gather Together in My Name, first published in the New Statesman 17 May 1985.

Dr Angelou visiting the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in 2010. Photo: Getty Images
US poet and author Maya Angelou has died, aged 86
By Ian Steadman - 28 May 14:57

Sad news as an American literary icon passes away.

Eyes in the sky: the NSA agency in Fort Meade, Maryland
After Snowden, do you feel less safe? David Aaronovitch on Glenn Greenwald and Luke Harding
By David Aaronovitch - 28 May 11:04

The Snowden affair turned Greenwald from the humourless Occupy Wall Street version of Richard Littlejohn into that matinée idol of the modern era, the investigative journalist with a big story. 

How the west embraced Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book
By John Gray - 23 May 12:30

At the peak of its popularity, Mao's bible was the most printed book in the world. It attained the status of a sacred, holy text during the Cultural Revolution, and retains its place among western devotees.

Flagging spirits: a St George's Day parade in 2010. Photo: Getty
No patriotism please, we’re English
By Kate Fox - 23 May 12:02

England has had its share of terrorist bombings, economic crises, political reshuffles, the Olympic Games, and so on – but the basic “grammar” of Englishness hasn’t changed.

The moors near Pickering in Yorkshire. Photo: Getty
Walks on the wild side: a weightless, weighty history of the Yorkshire moors
By Philip Hoare - 23 May 11:59

We now cannot think of the Yorkshire moors without Emily Brontë, but we must reclaim our moors from cream teas and see them from the vantage point of the raptors wheeling overhead.

Students from Beijing University during a huge demonstration at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Photo: Getty
China’s Chekhov: Kinder than Solitude by Yiyun Li
By Megan Walsh - 23 May 11:57

The sophomore novel from the author of story collections A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl.

Lynn Barber at the premierer of "An Education" in 2009. Photo: Getty
A Curious Career: learning Lynn Barber's rules for celebrity interviews
By Erica Wagner - 23 May 11:52

Lynn Barber's A Curious Career is a curious concoction, a mixture of retold stories and reprinted interviews from a writer who has always been better at writing about other people rather than herself.

Nationalists in Mérida, 1936. Some Spaniards felt foreign “adventurers” treated their war as sport. Photo: Getty Images
How Anglo writers stole the story of the Spanish civil war
By Jeremy Treglown - 23 May 11:51

When we think about writing about Spain's civil war, we go first to Orwell's Homage to Catalonia or Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls. Why were Spanish authors mistrusted?

A wonderful book is the Pelican: editions through the decades, from Shaw's 1937 political tract onwards
Blue, white and read all over: the return of Pelican Books
By John Sutherland - 17 May 11:43

John Sutherland recalls how Penguin’s imprint, launched in 1937, gave education to the masses and challenged the Oxbridge status quo

"Shoes on the Danube Bank", a Holocaust memorial in Budapest on 16 April 16, Holocaust memorial day. Photo: Getty
House of horrors: The Notebook by Ágota Kristóf
By J S Tennant - 16 May 15:39

The Hungarian writer’s grimly humorous novel is a tale of monstrous twins during an unnamed war in an unspecified European country. 

Illuminating idea: volunteers light 5,000 candles in the shape of planet earth, during Earth Hour 2012, Berlin. Photo: Getty
The Gaia guy: how James Lovelock struggled to be taken seriously
By Steven Poole - 16 May 11:24

Nowadays, the area of study called “earth systems science” uses many ideas originally championed by Lovelock, though people are still allergic to the name Gaia.

Real thing: Kathleen Turner in Bakersfield Mist, about a woman who discovers a potential Pollock
Mark Lawson: how “keepers of the flame” protect an artist’s legacy
By Mark Lawson - 16 May 11:10

From Larkin’s diaries being burnt to the refusal to acknowledge forgotten Jackson Pollocks, literary and art executors run a tight ship.

Thank You Note to Christopher Reid
By Grey Gowrie - 15 May 16:00

A new poem by Grey Gowrie.

Footballers on a Brazilian beach.
Golazo! by Andreas Campomar and Futebol Nation by David Goldblatt: the football myth behind Brazil's World Cup
By Jonathan Wilson - 15 May 16:00

The Brazilians have won five World Cups, more than anybody else. So why was there rioting last summer when teams arrived for a warm-up? Brazil's relationship with football has never been an easy romance.

Three haikus
By John Kinsella - 15 May 15:31

New work by the Australian poet John Kinsella

Speaker's corner: Howe (left) rallies anti-fascists, in Lewisham, 1977. Photo: Syd Shelton
Diane Abbott on Darcus Howe: “A living embodiment of the struggle against police racism”
By Diane Abbott - 15 May 13:20

The MP recalls being in the Old Bailey for the “Mangrove Nine” trial in 1970, in which the great black activist and intellectual walked free. 

Akhil Sharma.
The son also rises: Family Life by Akhil Sharma
By Philip Maughan - 15 May 13:00

It took Akhil Sharma 13 years to write his second novel: a bildungsroman with a family tragedy at its core. It was worth the wait, writes Philip Maughan.

Dan Brown. Really? Photo: Getty
Could you go out with a Dan Brown fan?
By Eleanor Margolis - 15 May 11:49

 How online dating has turned singles into perfectionists.

It was Sidney Webb, not Beatrice, who first supported women’s suffrage. Photo: Getty
The Women’s Library: a treasure house of women’s literature
By Caroline Crampton - 15 May 10:00

The LSE recently took over custodianship of the Women’s Library, which houses everything from Emily Wilding to Barbara Cartland and has close links to Beatrice and Sidney Webb. 

Glossing over: women’s magazines are “as intent as the average sexist in the street at making women feel bad”
Germaine Greer: the failures of the new feminism
By Germaine Greer - 14 May 10:00

“Feminism in Britain has had two strands: as a media phenomenon and as an academic discipline. The vast realm of reality that lies between remains unaffected by either.”