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.

Germaine Greer, who will be speaking at the Cambridge Literary Festival on 5 April 2014. Photo: Getty
Literary festivals haven’t always been as inclusive as they should be – but we can change that
By Alex Clark - 24 March 11:29

Books and the act of reading are about removing barriers, and public events that celebrate them must do the same, as Alex Clark, guest programmer for this year's Cambridge Literary Festival, explains.

Home Birth
By Carolyn Jess-Cooke - 20 March 10:00

A new poem by Carolyn Jess-Cooke.

Call of duty: US Iraq war veterans. (Photo: Corbis)
Iraq and ruin: two fictional examinations of life after war
By Phil Klay - 20 March 10:00

Two new American novels about physically and psychologically damaged veterans from the Iraq war get inside their subjects’ heads with varying success, writes a former US marine.

Majestic flight: hawks have been considered sacred in cultures throughout history.
Hawk eyed: how to write about birds of prey
By John Burnside - 20 March 10:00

From sacred symbolism in ancient mythology to paeans by 20th-century naturalists, hawks and eagles have always been lauded in art and literature.

Fight or flight: a British soldier stands guard near a republican mural in Belfast, 1982. (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty)
The lady was for turning: Margaret Thatcher’s Battle With the IRA by Thomas Hennessy
By John Bew - 20 March 10:00

The extraordinary sequence of events now seems too far-fetched even for a British version of Homeland.

Binyavanga Wainaina (Photo: Phil Moore/Guardian)
Binyavanga Wainaina on coming out: “This is not going to be very good for my love life”
By Philip Maughan - 20 March 10:00

The fearless Kenyan writer talks about the “lost” coming-out chapter from his memoir and the response in Africa and elsewhere.

Books on Books (2003) by Jonathan Wolstenholme/Private Collection/Bridgeman Art Library
Living life by the book: why reading isn't always good for you
By Leo Robson - 20 March 10:00

Somewhere along the line, an orthodoxy hardened: cigarettes will kill you and Bon Jovi will give you a migraine, but reading – the ideal diet being Shakespeare and 19th-century novels, plus the odd modernist – will make you healthier, stronger, kinder. But is that true?

A thatcher at work in Botley, Oxfordshire in 1933, the county in which the Lark Rise books are set. (Photo: Getty)
Flora and fauna: Dreams of the Good Life by Richard Mabey
By Frances Wilson - 20 March 10:00

The story of Flora Thompson’s semi-autobiographical novels set in the Oxfordshire hamlet of Lark Rise.

Anne Rice. Photo: Getty
Your book sucks: are authors being bullied with one-star Amazon reviews?
By Hayley Campbell - 17 March 14:31

Anne Rice thinks there are communities of “parasites” intent on dragging down writers by slating their books online. Is she right – and why are we such slaves to the star rating, anyway?

Judy Garland et al at Quaglino's in the 1960s. (Photo: Getty)
Meet the parents: Romany and Tom by Everything But the Girl’s Ben Watt
By Rachel Cooke - 13 March 17:16

The musician’s heart-wrenching memoir of his parents’ long, unhappy marriage.

Protestors in Clichy-sous-Bois, near Paris, 2005. (Photo: Getty)
Battle of the banlieue: the French Intifada by Andrew Hussey
By Charles Bremner - 13 March 16:40

Race relations in modern-day France.