The latest on books and the arts
Motoko Kusanagi from the Ghost in the Shell series. By Jarred Everson
On ghosts, or why I never want to be anybody’s muse
By Cara Ellison - 23 April 17:34

It took 27 years for me to admit that I didn’t want to be around people who create things. I didn’t want to be with them. I was already one of them.

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.

Image: Laura Carlin
Karl Ove Knausgaard: “The greatest sign of spring of all was the smell of burning grass”
By Karl Ove Knausgaard - 23 April 10:00

The Norwegian autobiographical author writes a spring reflection especially for the New Statesman.

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.

Can you move down a bit, please? Commuters on a packed London Tube train. Photo: Getty
Standing packed together on trains but studiously ignoring each other is nothing new
By Will Self - 22 April 12:31

A complex repertoire of psychosocial behaviours has been built up over the past two centuries in order for it to be possible.

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. 

No go zone: the wife of cartoonist Barry Appleby washes a teapot in her kitchen, 1952. Photo: Getty
I’m living with a house-proud northern woman who has just uncovered the kitchen
By Nicholas Lezard - 22 April 11:56

But if, like me, you are miserably fussy about your tea, then you will know that you never clean the inside of a teapot.

Comic Sans gets neue lease of life – but it may end in tragedy
By Robert Honnell and Derek G Ross - 22 April 11:05

A new version of Comic Sans promises to lend credibility to the comic line of typefaces.

Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in Fargo. Photo: Channel 4/MGM
Sympathy for a wife-murderer: a feminist killjoy review of Fargo
By Rebecca Reilly-Cooper - 22 April 10:34

The television adaptation of the Coen Brothers’ film exhibits an uncomfortable attitude to violence against women.

Vince Cable: “What makes me human is a love of dance”
By Vince Cable - 22 April 9:01

For the Business Secretary, his Friday dance lesson is a small refuge from a fraught ministerial routine.

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.