The latest on books and the arts


Linguist says you can use “like” more. He’s, like, wrong
By Marc Tracy - 01 November 17:10

Is it an irritating verbal tick young people can't control, or a legitimate use of language?

New Statesman
In the Frame: Life of a Viral Video
By Tom Humberstone - 01 November 10:30

Tom Humberstone's observational comic for the New Statesman.

New Statesman
Can Channel 4's Bedlam do for psychiatry what Educating Yorkshire did for teaching?
By Billy Boland - 31 October 12:50

While an under-performing school holds ample opportunities for teachers to turn lives around, inpatient psychiatric units are where lives get put on hold.

Were the Borgias as bad as we have always thought?
By G J Meyer - 30 October 10:36

Popular portrayals have always depicted the world of the Borgias as being full of murderers, sadists and moral degenerates - but was it really so bad?

If you want to be an author, the worst thing you can do is get published
By Lionel Shriver - 25 October 13:00

The wholesale colonisation of one's day by auxiliary activities that haven’t a whit to do with the contemplative, hermetical job of a novelist, is now the norm for most professional writers.

New Statesman
In the Frame: Banksy's New York Notebook
By Tom Humberstone - 25 October 11:20

Tom Humberstone's weekly observational comic for the New Statesman.

The Great British Bake Off: Why do we love to tear down women who are good at what they do?
By Caroline Crampton - 22 October 15:12

Raymond Blanc's comment that the hugely popular baking show contains "not much skills, female tears" is symptomatic of widespread prejudice about women's roles at home and at work.

Photo Op.
A response from Peter Kennard and Cat Phillips: Censorship is flourishing in our "public spaces"
By kennardphillips - 22 October 12:15

Their Tony Blair "selfie" was recently banned from public display after advertisers refused to display the image. Here Peter Kennard and Cat Phillips speak out about the censorship of their work.

The Rape of Lucretia and Les Vepres Siciliennes: Excess and elegance at the opera
By Alexandra Coghlan - 21 October 12:23

Neither Verdi’s <em>Les Vêpres Siciliennes</em> nor Britten’s <em>The Rape of Lucretia</em> are straightforward.

New Statesman
In the Frame: The Shutdown of Doom
By Tom Humberstone - 18 October 11:23

Tom Humberstone's weekly observational comic for the New Statesman.

Rufus Norris.
Who is Rufus Norris, the National Theatre's new Artistic Director?
By Jasper Rees - 15 October 13:18

Nicholas Hytner's replacement has only been directing a short time - he is an unorthodox choice, whose signature is inclusiveness.

Hay Festival.
The problem with literary festivals
By Dolores Montenegro - 14 October 14:11

Most have big money sponsors but fail to pay authors - splurging on comedians and celebrity politicians instead. Scottish festivals set the best example, but will anyone listen?

Gordon Burn.
What Gordon Burn taught me: Write, write write, day and night
By Ben Myers - 14 October 11:40

The week before the first winner of the inaugural Gordon Burn Prize is announced, novelist Ben Myers remembers the pilgrimage he made to Burn's remote home in the Scottish borders.

Children's books.
Attention, dads! Buy your children picture books
By Jonathan Emmett - 13 October 13:17

A new study reveals an increase in illiteracy among young boys is being caused by the perception books are "uncool". Fathers and grandfathers can change all that.

The Lengths.
Comics interview: Howard Hardiman on "The Lengths"
By Laura Sneddon - 13 October 12:46

The writer and artist talks to Laura Sneddon about "The Lengths": a controversial, important comic about male escorts, imagined as dogs.

New Statesman
In the Frame: Reversal
By Tom Humberstone - 11 October 10:54

Tom Humberstone's weekly observational comic for the New Statesman.

Alice Munro.
Alice Munro awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 2013
By Philip Maughan - 10 October 12:55

The Canadian "writer's writer" hailed by the committee as a "master of the contemporary short story".

Andrew Wylie.
Andrew Wylie of The Wylie Agency: Publishers should withdraw from Amazon
By Laura Bennett - 08 October 14:35

In a candid interview with New Republic's Laura Bennett, Andrew "The Jackal" Wylie talks about his failed e-book deal with Amazon, publishing's rosy future and making highbrow pay.

Slavoj Žižek: "Most of the idiots I know are academics"
By Luke Massey - 08 October 12:41

Luke Massey talks to the cultural theorist and ideas machine about Obama, stupidity and his favourite quasi-fascist industrial metal outfit - Rammstein.

I blame Bridget Jones
By Clmence Sebag - 08 October 12:13

Bridget got me into this mess, and I’ve been waiting 14 years for her to get me out of it, writes Clémence Sebag.

Rhian Lois as Adele in ENO's 'Die Fledermaus'.
Die Fledermaus and Elektra: Emotional trauma and tortured self-examination at the opera
By Alexandra Coghlan - 07 October 12:30

This autumn, there's a generous helping of dark, psychological drama available in London's opera houses.

Crap Towns: We can't fix our problems if we refuse to see them
By Sam Jordison - 07 October 12:28

Editor Sam Jordison says his book is not "an exercise in laughing at neglect" but a tough look at the nasty side of British capitalism written by the victims - for the victims.

New Statesman
Juggling babies and books: how to be a mother and a writer
By Amy Licence - 05 October 23:46

The problem of the pram in the hall.

New Statesman
In the Frame: Opiates
By Tom Humberstone - 04 October 12:10

Tom Humberstone's weekly observational comic for the New Statesman.

David Vann.
Reviews round-up | 1 October
By Critic - 01 October 17:00

The critics' verdict on David Vann, William Boyd and Damian McBride.

The Goldsmiths Prize.
The Goldsmiths Prize: Where the boundaries of fiction and non-fiction cede to creativity
By Philip Maughan - 01 October 13:00

After the Booker Prize's announcement that it will accept English-language across the globe, the Goldsmiths Prize occupies a unique position. Its debut shortlist was revealed this morning.

The police helicopter from Grand Theft Auto V.
Video games are making us too comfortable with the modern surveillance state
By Michael Thomsen - 30 September 14:50

Games like Grand Theft Auto V pacify our worst anxieties about the evils of our culture, by turning those evils on their head and finding ways to repaint reality so that our impulses to pry can be seen as good.

New Statesman
Stephen King still won't accept Kubrick's genius
By Mark Hodge - 30 September 10:26

What is it that particularly irks King about a film that was so universally acclaimed?

New Statesman
In the Frame: Veiled View
By Tom Humberstone - 30 September 9:56

Tom Humberstone's weekly observational comic for the New Statesman.

New Statesman
On David Gilmour: The Loneliness of the Old White Male
By Holger Syme - 26 September 12:41

David Gilmour seems to be fond of authors, and he says he loves their work — provided they are male, white, and very much like him. Here's why he's wrong.