French connection: Samuel Beckett photographed in Paris, 1960. He met Joyce on his first visit to France in 1928. Photo: Lufti Ozkok/Rex/Sipa
Portrait of the artist as a young fan: Echo’s Bones by Samuel Beckett
By John Banville - 28 April 17:00

A previously unpublished novella shows the playwright struggling to escape the influence of Joyce. 

Cat among the pigeons: from A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Mark Hearld
Robots and runaways: the best children’s books this season
By Amanda Craig - 28 April 15:00

Amanda Craig rounds up the best new offerings for young people.

Clive James being filmed for the NS at his home in Cambridge.
Clive James on poetry, family and illness: “I’m a bit terrified, this really is the mark of the end”
By Philip Maughan - 28 April 12:15

The 74-year-old poet and broadcaster, who is terminally ill, reads a new poem “Driftwood Houses” and reflects on his career, family and the power of “simple, ordinary things”.

Two children sitting at workstations in 1963. Photo: Getty
Why do our offices make us so miserable?
By Juliet Lapidos - 23 April 13:50

The unhappy history of the workplace.

Northern Northanger: McDermid updates the setting from Bath to Edinburgh. Photo: Getty
Val McDermid’s Northanger Abbey and the struggle to breathe new life into Jane Austen
By John Mullan - 22 April 15:49

In the next instalment of the “Austen Project”, the Scottish crime writer gives her modern-day take on the novel formerly known as Susan.

Drive la France: a taxi driver in Paris in 1929. Photo: Getty
Home and away: The Prince’s Boy by Paul Bailey and Other People’s Countries by Patrick McGuinness
By Leo Robson - 22 April 15:00

Two new novels, about a Romanian in Paris in the 1920s and a Belgian living near the French border respectively, are examinations of nationality and identity.

 A visitor views a digital representation of the human genomeat the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Photo: Getty
Life itself is encrypted – but can you find the Easter eggs?
By Adam Rutherford - 22 April 13:03

Art and science both had a long history of secret codes hidden in plain sight. Adam Rutherford goes on the hunt.

Chile spring: an installation of 10,000  clay flowers by the Chilean artist Fernando Casasempere at Somerset House in London, 2012. Photo: Getty
Flowers from beyond the grave: The Insufferable Gaucho by Roberto Bolaño
By Ollie Brock - 22 April 12:00

Bolaño’s books are still appearing and we have not finished understanding them. 

Hilary Mantel: “I do think the level of public debate is debased”
By Erica Wagner - 21 April 9:04

The double Man Booker-winning novelist Hilary Mantel on writing for the stage, finishing her Tudor trilogy – and the perils of being a woman in the public eye.

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.