The latest on books and the arts


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. 

Girl power.
Lukas Moodysson, the Swedish director back from the dead
By Ryan Gilbey - 18 April 9:00

Lukas Moodysson, director of Lilya 4-Eva and Container talks about his new (and most accomplished) film We Are the Best! in which three Stockholm teenagers form a punk bank.

Image: Bridgeman Art Library
Brace yourself for seven days of Super Tuscans
By Nina Caplan - 17 April 16:07

An enoteca in Spitalfields, east London, will be selling a different Tuscan red by the glass each day, with dishes to match.

Stay classy: Wake up London’s Vanessa Bafoe
Capital punishment: the launch of London Live
By Rachel Cooke - 17 April 15:39

There can’t be a human being alive who would willingly sit through most of the new station’s original output.

Puff piece: solo piping at the Highland Games in Dunoon. Photo: Getty
Better with the sound turned low: BBC Radio Orkney’s Pipeline
By Antonia Quirke - 17 April 14:48

Highlights from day one of the Northern Meeting solo bagpipe competition. 

A still from World of Darkness.
Why it sucks that there are so few vampire videogames
By Phil Hartup - 17 April 14:22

With the cancellation of World of Darkness, the chances of a second good vampire game seem small.

James Dean. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
James Dean and the birth of modern masculinity
By India Ross - 17 April 14:05

A life mesmerisingly truncated, James Dean left behind only three films, and the gaping absence of the career that might have been.

Henri Matisse: the hand that takes you for a ride
By Craig Raine - 17 April 13:00

When he started “drawing with scissors”, Matisse found a whole new way to overthrow the habitual.

The cultural riches online are seemingly infinite - will they be there forever? Photogragh: Erik Söderström on Flickr via Creative Commons
What’s the rush? Why the internet means we never get round to doing anything
By Oliver Farry - 17 April 12:53

Speed is of the essence in the online world but faced with the Aladdin’s cave of cultural riches, one’s response is invariably one of sluggishness, of planning for a putative future that will never come.

In the Frame: Easter in Isolationist England
By Tom Humberstone - 17 April 10:22

Tom Humberstone's weekly comic.

The Anointing of David by Paolo Veronese
Poets and madmen: the art of Paolo Veronese
By Michael Prodger - 17 April 10:00

The Renaissance painter abhorred an empty canvas. Did his crowded scenes lack spiritual depth – or is it time to take a closer look?

The man in the papier mâché head
By Stuart Maconie - 17 April 10:00

Stuart Maconie recalls the “real” Frank Sidebottom.

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”.

Kooky horror show: Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes in Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel
What’s the secret to a long and happy relationship? Disagree about everything
By Tracey Thorn - 17 April 10:00

My friend Emma worships Wes Anderson; I can’t stand him – so we were looking forward to a good row after The Grand Budapest Hotel

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.

Christina Hendricks as Joan and Jon Hamm as Don Draper in Mad Men. Photo: ©Lionsgate
The final series of Mad Men: how to end a golden age TV show
By India Ross - 16 April 12:06

However it ends, the climax of Mad Men will be perhaps television's most influential ending.

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.

Popular in Poplar: Angela Lansbury at the Angela Lansbury Film Festival, Poplar, April 2014
Angela Lansbury: “Peach queens are stars. I’m an actress”
By Caroline Crampton - 15 April 14:00

The veteran actress best known for Murder, She Wrote had an emotional return to her East End roots this month with a series of screenings and a personal appearance.

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.

London's newest venue for opera: the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe. Photo: Getty
Tiny, candlelit and intimate: L’Ormindo at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
By Alexandra Coghlan - 11 April 17:00

Live opera is as physical as art gets, though you would never know that from sitting in any major opera house.

Use your imagination, go on. Photo: Getty
My adult circumcision: how I made the cut for my new religion
By Tony Dokoupil - 11 April 16:24

To remain uncut, I was told, is to remain spiritually cut off from the Jewish people.

Richard Hoggart (right) at the 1960 Pilkington Committee.
Richard Hoggart on why American novels are better than British ones
By Richard Hoggart - 11 April 15:27

From the archive, 6 September 1958: Working-class people "are attracted to certain American novels, I think, chiefly because they find in them a wider emotional keyboard and a more demotic (less class-defined) language than in most contemporary British novels."

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton star as a married couple caught in conflict in Half of a Yellow Sun
Friday Arts Diary
By New Statesman - 11 April 13:00

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.

Peter White and Ed Reardon presented a spoof version of You and Yours. Photo: BBC Pictures
Character Invasion: Radio 4 comedy at its worst
By Antonia Quirke - 11 April 12:45

It started inauspiciously with the never remotely amusing Big Bird as the subject of Tweet of the Day.

In the Frame: The Smog
By Tom Humberstone - 11 April 11:27

Tom Humberstone's weekly comic.

Ursula Bedena as Edwige.
The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears: Giallo shots
By Ryan Gilbey - 11 April 11:00

Husband and wife duo Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani's have created a new giallo film with all the necessary beauty and depravity expected of the genre, but without the intelligence and terror of a classic.