The latest on books and the arts


Portraits of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon in the National Portrait Gallery
Forgotten by history: the royal babies you've never heard of
By Amy Licence - 23 July 12:20

Amy Licence reminds us of the royal children who shaped the course of history, only to recede into obscurity.

Remembering Vicky, the Queen Britain never had
By Elizabeth Norton - 23 July 8:58

Elizabeth Norton looks back to another highly-anticipated royal birth - that of Queen Victoria's eldest child.

Benjamin Disraeli.
Reviews Round-up
By Critic - 22 July 17:13

The critics' verdicts on Hurd and Young, Higashida and McCleen.

Friday Arts Diary
By New Statesman - 19 July 11:45

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.

New Statesman
In the Frame: In It Together
By Tom Humberstone - 19 July 9:47

Tom Humberstone's observational comic for the New Statesman.

JK Rowling really was outed as "Robert Galbraith" against her will
By Alex Hern - 19 July 8:34

Conspiracists, back down: this wasn't a publisher-organised PR coup.

Gladstone and MPs.
In the Critics this Week
By Joe Collin - 18 July 15:00

This week's books pages feature everything from Disraeli to walls, futuristic distopias to an autism memoir.

The Stalin-Wells Talk: The interview that defined the post-war British left
By Matthew Taunton - 18 July 12:45

In 1934 H G Wells interviewed Joseph Stalin in Moscow. The fallout from the meeting led to a battle between three intellectual powerhouses - Shaw, Keynes and Wells - each of whom argued for their own vision of socialism in the UK.

Haifa al-Mansour: "In Saudi Arabia, any woman voicing her opinion will be seen as controversial"
By Steve Yates - 17 July 10:04

Haifa al-Mansour, the first woman ever to direct a feature film in Saudi Arabia, talks to Steve Yates about how her film <em>Wadjda</em> came together.

J K Rowling
Has J K Rowling betrayed women writers in her decision to publish as Robert Galbraith?
By Nichi Hodgson - 16 July 12:03

The unmasking of Rowling as the author of The Cuckoo's Calling and its subsequent meteoric success has demonstrated that celebrity trumps gender when it comes to book sales. But what about all the writers who will never achieve a fraction of Rowling's fam

The cover of The Cuckoo's Calling.
What did the critics really think of "Cuckoo's Calling" (before they knew it was by J K Rowling)?
By Joe Collin - 15 July 17:00

Actually, they liked it. Galbraith's Cormoran Strike thriller could mark the start of another intensely successful Rowling series.

England celebrate victory in the first Ashes test on 14 July.
Why I love the Ashes
By Neil Hannon - 15 July 10:57

It's the age-old rivalry that makes matches like this weekend's Test so thrilling to watch.

New Statesman
In the Frame: Undercover Cop
By Tom Humberstone - 15 July 9:31

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

Sales of "The Cuckoo's Calling" surge by 150,000% after JK Rowling revealed as author
By Alex Hern - 14 July 11:08

"Robert Galbraith" was critically acclaimed, but it takes Rowling to be commercially successful.

New Statesman
Amanda Palmer vs the Sidebar of Shame (NSFW. You have been warned)
By Alex Hern - 13 July 15:58

The musician is not a fan of the Daily Mail, it seems.

New Statesman
Rob Pollard v Woods: "We make money on the road and that’s just the way it is now"
By Rob Pollard - 13 July 10:27

A man, a band, a record label. Rob Pollard talks to Woods' Jeremy Earl.

A still from Bioshock Infinite.
Coin Opera: Poems inspired by video games
By Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone - 12 July 11:12

Think it's impossible to write poetry about video games? Wrong! A selection of poems by Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone.

A plan for Slipstream.
At the airfield: Introducing Richard Wilson’s “Slipstream”
By Philip Maughan - 10 July 10:30

The renowned sculptor's new work, an aluminium procession of twists and somersaults, is currently being installed at Heathrow's new Terminal 2 building. Last week the aerobatics pilot Paul Bonhomme attempted to illustrate its curves above an airfield in E

Pacific Rim.
During the 132 minutes of Pacific Rim I failed to have a single thought - not always a bad thing
By Fred Crawley - 09 July 15:35

Director Guillermo del Toro has spoken with open passion about this ludicrous, ludicrous film. In fact, he's right: it's pretty good.

Nigerian literature is going from strength to strength
By James Evans - 09 July 15:00

Winner of the 2013 Caine Prize for African writing and four nominees all hail from Nigeria.

It's game over for archetypal men in video games
By Edward Smith - 09 July 9:13

The characterisation of Joel in <em>The Last of Us</em> marks a change in how video games view masculinity - the game doesn't champion archetypal maleness, it shows it for what it is: selfish and meat-headed.

Lawrence Croft, as imagined by ulysses0302 on deviantart.
There's no sexism in gaming
By Cara Ellison - 08 July 10:13

Why don’t you just enjoy the fantasy? Games are a special medium, completely separate from our wider culture and any attempt to put them in context is just insulting.

In the Frame: Distracted
By Tom Humberstone - 05 July 8:00

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

Northern Irish people! It's time to reclaim our god-awful accent
By Suzie McCracken - 03 July 12:25

Suzie McCracken feels like her vocal chords are haunted by the booming projections of past politicians and preachers. Surely now it's time to stop being an incessant apologist and be proud of our vowels?

Returning Britten's dark social parable Peter Grimes to the sea
By Alexandra Coghlan - 03 July 10:43

With the Aldeburgh Festival's production of Peter Grimes on the Beach, director Tim Albery has created a site-specific opera that avoids cliché to provide an allusive blur of fact and fiction.

Jimmy Connors.
Reviews round-up
By Critic - 02 July 14:30

The critics' verdicts on Jimmy Connors, Jonathan Sperber and Sarah Churchwell.

BBC Proms.
An obsession with composers' birthdays is turning our orchestras into state-funded tribute bands
By Andrew Mellor - 02 July 10:29

2013 was an easy one for festival programmers. Wagner, Verdi and Britten all have major anniversaries this year. But doesn't organising a festival around something as arbitrary as a composer's birthday undermine the fundamental value of the work?

Christopher Purves as Walt Disney in The Perfect American.
Reviewed: The Perfect American and Eugene Onegin
By Alexandra Coghlan - 26 June 16:18

Alexandra Coghlan assesses the English National Opera's production of <em>The Perfect American</em> and Grange Park Opera's <em>Eugene Onegin.</em>

Reviewed: The Importance of Being Earnest and Gloriana
By Alexandra Coghlan - 26 June 15:32

Alexandra Coghlan explores two very different productions that share a certain whimsical aesthetic: <em>The Importance of Being Earnest</em> and <em>Gloriana</em>.