"While Trying to Make an Arrowhead in the Fashion of the Mattaponi Indians": a poem by Kevin Powers
By Kevin Powers - 13 March 16:00

We are born to be makers of crude tools.
And our speech is full of cruel
signifiers: you, me, them, us. I
am sure we will not survive.

A 1960s Soviet propaganda poster advocates science over religion. (Bridgeman Art Library)
The ghost at the atheist feast: was Nietzsche right about religion?
By John Gray - 13 March 15:48

John Gray reviews “The Age of Nothing” by Peter Watson and “Culture and the Death of God” by Terry Eagleton.

Tiger mom: author Amy Chua at a the Jaipur Literary Festival in 2012. (Photo: Getty)
Playing the race card: the Triple Package by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld
By Kwasi Kwarteng - 13 March 14:54

A provocative new exploration of ethnicity vs success in modern America by the authors of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Master of the gentle art: Whistler was known for his charm and talent, but also his feuds. (Photo: Corbis)
Foppery and flapdoodle: a life of James Whistler by Daniel E Sutherland
By Alex Danchev - 13 March 13:45

The US-born artist had talent to burn and a weakness for showmanship.

Big trouble: Jumbo with its keeper in around 1882
The first celebrity elephant: Jumbo by John Sutherland
By Philip Hoare - 06 March 18:00

At London Zoo, Jumbo was assumed into the British imagination as a gentle giant.

Sea spirit: Hadfield explores Shetland's shores. Photo: Getty Images
Mother tongue: new poetry by Jen Hadfield and John Burnside
By Matthew Sperling - 06 March 11:00

Two new collections by Scottish poets characterised by sharp attention to detail.

A child in Romania picks up free books from the pavement on World Book Day. Photo: Getty
Why are children’s books still promoting gender stereotypes?
By Tricia Lowther - 06 March 10:48

A good book should be open to anyone, so why do some children’s publishers restrict readership according to gender?

Wall of silence: abandoned terraced housing in Doncaster. Photo: Rex Features
Empty nests: All That is Solid by Danny Dorling
By Lynsey Hanley - 06 March 10:25

The sad disappearance of the British “average neighbourhood”.

An English sergeant rests at a memorial to the Italian soldiers of World War I, Sicily, 1943
Lambs to the slaughter: In the Wolf’s Mouth by Adam Foulds
By Tom Gatti - 06 March 10:08

An ambitious and wide-ranging novel about allied soldiers in Sicily during the Second World War.

Child support: a march in Northumberland at the end of the miners's strike, 1985. Photo: Rex Features
Writing the strike: poetry from the 1980s miners’ picket lines
By Katy Shaw - 06 March 10:05

Writing was fundamental to the protest, yet the poems and songs have been largely lost from popular memory.

The Vegetable Gardener by Giuseppe Arcimboldo
From food and shelter to Nigella and Kirstie: the rise of lifestyle
By Jane Shilling - 06 March 10:02

Two new books on cooking and interiors explore 20th century society's biggest paradigm shift.

Same generation: Girls cast members at a panel discussion in Pasadena this January
Privilege and post-feminism: Eat My Heart Out by Zoe Pilger
By Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett - 06 March 10:00

Like the US TV series Girls – but for people who went to Cambridge.

Life of crime: Val McDermid, pictured in 2004, has recently returned to Scotland
Val McDermid: living the tartan noir in Edinburgh
By Val McDermid - 06 March 10:00

The Scottish capital has a long tradition of crime fiction. Now one of the genre’s modern proponents comes home.

A pro-independence Scot at a rally in Edinburgh. Photo: David Moir/Reuters
The rise of Borgen nationalism
By Andrew Marr - 06 March 10:00

The conundrum of Britishness and the condition of Scotland.

Voice of an alien: Charlotte Church performs her new EP Four with a sci-fi show in London, 5 March. (Photo: Getty)
Laurie Penny on geek culture and the mainstream: bringing its own problems
By Laurie Penny - 05 March 13:09

Mainstream media have, until recently, been hostile to geeks – who have been hostile back. How do we break the cycle?

Jonathan Ross and his wife Jane Goldman, a former Hugo Award winner. Photo: Getty
Jonathan Ross and the Hugo awards: why was he forced out by science fiction's self-appointed gatekeepers?
By Hayley Campbell - 04 March 12:10

A Twitter campaign forced Jonathan Ross to pull out of hosting an awards ceremony for science fiction books. Was it purely a reaction to his controversial jokes - or were some people more concerned with keeping SFF "pure"?

No dying of this light: All the Rage by A L Kennedy
By Philip Maughan - 04 March 11:00

The 12 stories in A L Kennedy’s latest collection revolve around ordinary people trying to cope with the emotional debris from break-ups, accidents, violence and betrayal.

Fly on the Wall: Berlin by Rory MacLean
By Philip Oltermann - 28 February 15:00

The German capital lacks a modern-day chronicler. This book aims to change that.

Smog in Beijing. Photo: Getty
Life after west: Influencing Tomorrow by Douglas Alexander and Ian Kearns
By David Clark - 28 February 13:09

The era of global liberalism ended in crisis and retreat and world power is now shifting east. How does our foreign policy adapt?

A lone woman enters the Foyles shop on Charing Cross Road, London, in 1958. Photo: Getty
I don’t want to be a rare successful female writer. I just want to be a successful writer
By Sophia McDougall - 27 February 11:47

More often than not, when you pick up a new book in a bookshop, it will be by yet another white man, meaning that white and male will be what the next set of Big Names will look like. How can we break out of this self-reinforcing cycle?

Wilfred Owen: The Peter Pan of the trenches
By Rowan Williams - 27 February 7:20

The anti-heroic reading of the First World War did not begin with Blackadder - Wilfred Owen has far more to answer for than Richard Curtis, says the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

Gary Shteyngart.
Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart: Reborn in the USA
By Erica Wagner - 25 February 11:10

The Russian-American novelist's memoir shuttles back and forth between the deep past of his Soviet childhood to the glimmering possibilities of George Bush Sr's America.

Naked ambitions: sex “drives every poem that was ever written”. Illustration by
Phalluses and fallacies: Germaine Greer on the poetry of sex
By Germaine Greer - 20 February 11:31

All poetry is driven by sex, whether or not it acknowledges the impulse.

Measure of a man: will robots ever have the capacity to feel human emotions?
Reprogramming science fiction: the genre that is learning to love
By Andrew Harrison - 20 February 11:28

From Battlestar Galactica to Spike Jonze’s new film Her, modern science fiction is growing up and humanising.

New Statesman
Thought crimes: inside the consciousness of a damaged, damaging man
By Randy Boyagoda - 20 February 10:19

In <em>Andrew’s Brain</em> by E L Doctorow, the historical and the grand meld with the ordinary and affecting in a story that also features “an international dealer in Munchkins”.

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot
Pussy Riot and the new age of dissident art
By Daniel Trilling - 19 February 9:50

Neither of these two new books about the feminist art collective leave one optimistic about the immediate future of Russian politics, but they show the deep effect the saga has had.

New Statesman
Nanni Balestrini’s “Tristano”: the love story with 100 trillion possible plotlines
By Juliet Jacques - 17 February 12:07

Digital technology has finally made it possible for Tristano to be printed as the author intended. But should it be judged on its central device alone?

Reckless by William Nicholson: dropping bombshells you know are coming
By Matthew Jennings - 13 February 17:42

Reckless leaves you wanting to know what happens next, even though, with the real life events, you know the answer.

The promise and the power of the ocean, a conduit for all history
By Philip Hoare - 12 February 17:21

A history of empire and civilisation is a history of the sea.

Wild at heart: Literary tigers from William Blake to Fiona McFarlane's The Night Guest
By Philip Maughan - 10 February 15:00

Like so many books about tigers, The Night Guest, by Australian first-time novelist Fiona McFarlane, is a battle to preserve the order and civility of the household from the madness and barbarity outside.