Migrant activists on the US-Mexican border hold a minute's silence to remember those who have died trying to cross. Photo: Getty
Feel my pain: The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
By Elizabeth Minkel - 12 June 14:00

If Jamison is an experienced emotional traveller, then these essays form a rough sort of guide to the human experience. Ideas about empathy seep into every one.

In suburbia: aerial view of Sunbury, Surrey, which straddles London's commuter belt. Photo: Rex Features
Bryan Appleyard: in defence of the British suburbs
By Bryan Appleyard - 12 June 10:00

Bashing the ’burbs has been a common currency of artists and the intelligentsia, the right and the left, for over 150 years. But they are now undergoing a quiet renaissance.

"Grip Stick": a new poem by Mark Granier
By Mark Granier - 12 June 10:00

The man emptying bins on the prom might be my age,
though healthier looking, tanned, bare-armed
in a hi-vis jacket and black ski-cap.

Frankie Howerd as slave Lucio in Up Pompeii. Photo: Rex Features
Mary Beard: humour in ancient Rome was a matter of life and death
By Mary Beard - 12 June 10:00

It has always been bad for your public image to laugh in the wrong way or to crack jokes about the wrong targets, not least in the presence of Caligula…

Quick on the draw: Jonathan Meades (right) in 1955
A bugging device in boy form: Jonathan Meades, the early years
By Philip Oltermann - 12 June 10:00

Little Jonathan records every stain on his mother’s apron, every item of rubbish in the stream where his father went fishing.

Limits of reason: in William Blake's Newton, the great man shows his blindness to the natural world around him. Image: Bettman/Corbis
John Gray: “Humanity is a figment of the imagination”
By John Gray - 12 June 10:00

If you cannot conceive of humanity from an area of knowledge outside science, what reason could there be for thinking that one and only one system of values is peculiarly human? 

Disco love: young lovers at the Hammersmith Palais. Photo: Rex Features
Teenage kicks all through their life: why men avoid growing up
By John Burnside - 11 June 9:30

A boy gets to play; a man doesn’t, at least not officially. A man is obliged to act out the part scripted for him, all the while pretending that there’s something fulfilling in being promoted.

A march for transgender equality at Madrid Pride in 2010. Photo: Getty
It’s time to end divisive rhetoric on sex and gender and create a trans-inclusive feminism
By Tim R Johnston - 10 June 19:08

Sheila Jeffreys’s new book, Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism, is a divisive and poorly-researched work. But it provides an opportunity to leave the divisive rhetoric behind, and create a truly trans-inclusive feminism.

Cartoon feminists: Sally Heathcote and Woman Rebel
By Yo Zushi - 10 June 15:14

Two recent graphic novels tackle subjects from feminist history. 

Keith Douglas: soldier-poet of the desert and the Second World War
By Adrian Smith - 06 June 9:01

In exposing the unchivalric side of WWII, Keith Douglas was the heir to Siegfried Sassoon.

Tycoon tower: the 27-storey Antilia, Mumbai residence of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, has come to symbolise Indian wealth disparity. Photo: Getty
Slumdog billionaires: the rise of India’s tycoons
By James Crabtree - 05 June 10:00

New non-fiction books by the novelists Arundhati Roy and Rana Dasgupta examine India’s troubled relationship with capitalism and the blurred links between political and business elites. 

Claire Shipman and Katty Kay, authors of The Confidence Code. Photo: Stephen Voss/Redux/Eyevine
Talking about women’s lack of confidence may be counterproductive
By Alice Robb - 05 June 10:00

A new book by newscasters Katty Kay and Clare Shipman argues women’s timidity is holding them back at work – but does it perpetuate the idea that confidence is a masculine trait.

Party people: clubbers in Birmingham in 2012. Photo: Getty
The nine-year bender: Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth
By Alice O'Keeffe - 05 June 10:00

For a good 50 pages, I thought the promise of “Withnail with girls” might actually be realised. But when it comes to partying, in art as in life, a little goes a long way.

How James Joyce’s Dubliners heralded the urban era
By Eimear McBride - 05 June 9:49

It is through Joyce’s intimate rummagings through the city’s yens and wardrobes that we come closest to identifying its inhabitants.

A protestor pleads with a People's Liberation Army officer not to attack students assembled in the square, 1989. Photograph: Peter Turnley/Corbis
Tiananmen’s hungry ghosts: 25 years on, the massacre still haunts modern China
By Isabel Hilton - 04 June 8:46

The events of 4 June 1989 continue to generate new crimes – the crime of remembering, and the crime of forgetting.

Luminous blue eyes: Lorna Wishart in the 1940s. Photo: Francis Goodman/NPG
Fiercely unconventional and rampantly seductive: Lorna Wishart, the muse who made Laurie Lee
By Valerie Grove - 30 May 11:33

In her youth, Lorna was Anna Karenina, Emma Bovary and Becky Sharp rolled into one captivating and maddening creature. 

Two poems, by Tareq al-Karmy
By Tareq al-Karmy - 30 May 11:28

Translated by Liz Lochhead.

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.