Portrait of Josef Stalin (1933) by Isaak Izrailevich. Image: Bridgeman Art Library
H G Wells: “It seems to me that I am more to the Left than you, Mr Stalin”
By H G Wells - 18 April 9:00

In 1934, Wells arrived in Moscow to meet a group of Soviet writers. While there Stalin granted him an interview. 

Forster is an elusive presence in Galgut's fiction. Photo: Cecil Beaton/Conde Nast/Archive/Corbis
A web of race and class: Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut
By Hannah Rosefield - 17 April 10:00

Most of the writer’s novels are set in modern South Africa; this life of E M Forster is an unlikely change of direction.

This modest man: Oakeshott, pictured at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, 1933. Photo: Getty
Michael Oakeshott, conservative thinker who went beyond politics
By Jesse Norman - 17 April 10:00

An unassuming figure little known in life but hailed after his death as “perhaps the most original political philosopher of this century”.

Sajid Javid arriving at No 10 after being appointed as Culture Secretary. Photo: Getty
Sajid Javid and the left, the “extermination” of grammar schools and Pamuk in Oxford
By Jason Cowley - 16 April 13:00

The response of some Labour MPs to Javid’s promotion was idiotic.

Janet Mock in June 2013. Photo: Getty
Janet Mock: “Who will ever love you if you tell the truth?”
By Juliet Jacques - 16 April 8:52

Juliet Jacques talk to US journalist Janet Mock about her book Redefining Realness.

Teenagers at an Alicia Keys concert wave their phones in the air. Photo:Getty
Stop worrying: teenagers are not internet-addled cyborgs with overdeveloped thumbs
By Helen Lewis - 15 April 9:15

. . .  in fact, they are probably better at navigating a world of smartphones and social networks than we crusties aged 20 and over.

Rachel Carson's writing is animated by a desire to make sea creatures understandable. Photo: Barcroft Media/Getty
Fifty years on, we should celebrate the sea writings of Rachel Carson
By John Burnside - 14 April 17:24

With Silent Spring, Rachel Carson helped to launch the modern ecology movement – but it is her sea trilogy that captures her spirit.

Twist in the tail: a chimpanzee opens Christmas presents in a French zoo. Photo: Getty
Utterly beguiling: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
By Jane Shilling - 14 April 17:05

A disturbingly funny account of sibling loss. But not the usual kind of sibling. 

Norwegian fog and rain. Photo: Getty
Why Norway is the best place in the world to be a writer
By Evan Hughes - 14 April 11:25

The Norwegian government keeps book publishers alive.

Stephen Mangan as Adrian Mole in a 2001 BBC TV adaptation.
The best moments from Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole
By Caroline Crampton - 11 April 10:06

The author, who has died at the age of 68, created in Adrian Mole a character who spoke to a generation of teenagers growing up in suburban Britain. Here, we recall a few of his finest moments.

Tweet dreams.
Anxiety of influence: how Facebook and Twitter are reshaping the novel
By Alex Clark - 10 April 18:10

Ignore the cultural Jeremiahs: novelists are responding to the changes in language, form and subjectivity.

Nadine Dorries' debut novel, The Four Streets.
Begorrah! Nadine Dorries’ The Four Streets is a bad novel, riddled with Shamrockese
By Sarah Ditum - 10 April 9:54

After her remarkable flights from fact in her statements on abortion, it's disappointing to find that Dorries is just not very good at making things up.

Lydia Davis, photographed in 2013. Photo: Getty
Looking more closely at the world through the sharp eyes of Lydia Davis
By Erica Wagner - 08 April 11:04

Often, Lydia Davis’s writing requires us to pay very close attention to things most of us choose to pass over.

I spy: from Paradise Lost to Brave New World, literature has long explored the hidden self. Image: Richard Wilkinson
Private parts: writers and the battle for our inner lives
By Josh Cohen - 08 April 10:00

Imaginative writing is tied intimately to privacy, to the struggle to tell this story, to convey the singular texture of this experience, and no other.

Stock figure: during Elizabeth I’s reign nearly 200 English Catholics were executed. Image: Stapleton Collection/Bridgeman
Gloriana’s underbelly: the terror of life as a Catholic in Elizabethan England
By Anna Whitelock - 08 April 9:51

Jessie Childs's God’s Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England is a detailed and absorbing account of the difficulties of being Catholic in England in the 17th century.

The facts of killing: how do we write about the Rwandan Genocide?
By Giles Foden - 07 April 8:48

Twenty years on, we still struggle to comprehend the trauma.

A plague on your houses: the Commons, 1809. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty
Who’s the mummy? Parliament: the Biography by Chris Bryant
By George Eaton - 04 April 16:00

The belief that Westminster is “the mother of all parliaments” is one of the myths the Labour MP for Rhondda seeks to dispel.

Damon Galgut, Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke at the Cambridge Literary Festival
By New Statesman - 04 April 15:58

Alex Clark talks to South African novelist Damon Galgut about his new novel Arctic Summer, followed by readings from Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke.

War footing: British troops on a trek with Ethiopian ground forces, February 1941. (Photo: Associated Press)
Bleak and beautiful: The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry
By Frances Wilson - 03 April 17:00

The spirit of Conrad hovers over this tale of an alcoholic Irishman serving in the British army out in Africa during WWII.

Command and conquer: Djemal Pasha, Ottoman governor of Iraq and Syria (centre)
A messy legacy: Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson
By William Dalrymple - 03 April 14:06

Lawrence continues to grip our imagination but can be a problematic lens through which to examine the Middle East.

Selfish gene: Karl Ove Knausgaard turns his mundane life into honest and provocative fiction. (Photo: David Sandson/Eyevine)
Karl Ove Knausgaard's Nordic existentialism
By Leo Robson - 03 April 11:00

Why have the confessions of a Norwegian Everyman become a literary phenomenon?

With the Miliband: Thomas Piketty. (Image: Dan Murrell)
Thomas Piketty: a modern French revolutionary
By Nick Pearce - 03 April 11:00

Piketty’s book Capital is being acclaimed as the most important work of political economy to be published in decades. It has certainly caught the attention of Ed Miliband’s inner circle.

New-born babies in a hospital in India. Photo: Getty
The myth of choice: some ways of giving birth aren’t “more feminist” than others
By Glosswitch - 02 April 11:10

Childbirth is just one of the areas in which modern-day feminist beliefs can end up being appropriated by neoliberal and neoconservative agendas. Unless accompanied by structural change, “choice” is too often only meaningful for a small elite.

Unlike the deadly silence elsewhere, there is often a busy buzz in the prison library. Photo: Getty
The power of words: in prison, inmates can be transformed by reading
By Rene Denfeld - 01 April 8:35

Rene Denfeld, a death penalty investigator and author, describes the power the written word has behind bars.

David McSavage and Brendan Gleeson in Calvary.
Why pop culture won’t lay a finger on paedophile priests, despite years of abuse scandals
By Mark Lawson - 31 March 17:28

The subject still awaits its defining cinematic treatment.

Raymond Chandler at a party in London in 1958, flanked on either side by the publisher Anthony Blond and his wife Charlotte. Photo: Evening Standard/Getty Images
Watching the detective: how John Banville perfected the Raymond Chandler sequel
By Ian Sansom - 28 March 11:02

John Banville's Benjamin Black novels are irresistable. It's as if Henry James were writing under the pseudonym of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Under the cherry blossoms trees in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo. Photo: Getty
To be Japanese today is to negotiate the conflicting dreams of east and west
By Yo Zushi - 28 March 10:12

It’s not surprising that alienation is a persistent theme in much of the country’s fiction.

A Bradford town garden, late 19th century. (Photo: Garden Museum, London)
Hardy blooms: the British urge to garden, against all odds
By Katherine Lambert - 27 March 10:00

Green fingerdom throughout the ages in the face of wars, poverty and social upheaval.

Comrade Kim: Philby in Moscow in 1968, five years after defecting to the USSR. (Photo: Rex Features)
William Boyd on Kim Philby: how did a privileged young Englishman become a national traitor?
By William Boyd - 27 March 10:00

The story of how Philby and four other privileged young Englishmen became spies or double agents for the USSR borders on a perverse sense of national pride.

Shotgun Billy: William Burroughs posing in front of his paintings in 1987. (Photo: Getty)
Wild boys: the high lives of William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac
By Douglas Kennedy - 27 March 10:00

Sixty years on, the beats continue to exercise a formidable grip on cultural life on both sides of the Atlantic.