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2014 Independent Bath Literature Festival: A rapturous return to the happy valley

This year’s Independent Bath Literature Festival boasts a stellar line-up – and is on a mission to celebrate the timeless bliss of getting lost in a book

Nicole Kidman as the lover in the adaptation of Philip Roth's 'The Human Stain'

Arifa Akbar: How can we put passion on the page?

Some Saturdays can be more colourful than others. Such as the one last weekend when I found myself in an upstairs room of a trendy Soho restaurant at 9.30am. A blonde woman in thigh boots sat opposite; other 50-somethings smiled demurely. Sizzle – a book whose cover featured an ice-cube melting on a woman’s bare, bronze torso – lay like a grenade on the table in front of us.

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Who needs Shakespeare when you can read your beloved these 'delights'?

President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy ride with secret agents in an open car motorcade shortly before the president was assassinated in Dallas, Texas

A lust for lists: Michelangelo, Johnny Cash, Anne Frank, Chrissie Hynde, JFK's secretary - they all made them, as a new book reveals

Shaun Usher's Lists of Note book is to be published later this year and will be filled with 125 lists written by all manner of people, from 2600BC to the modern day

Boy band: Michael Booth toured Japan with his two young sons and his wife for several months to gather material for his now bestselling book

Sushi and Beyond: How I became big in Japan writing about their food - and had my 'Lost in Translation' moment

In the UK, Michael Booth's culinary travelogue was well received. But it's been a surprise hit with its subjects. So how does it feel to be feted in another country?

Apocalypse, now and then: Author Joanne Harris on Norse myths and the end of the world

The myths of the Norse gods still resonate with us, even though mankind’s concerns have changed, says author Joanne Harris

Invisible Ink: No 210 - Percy F Westerman

Charles Dickens wasn’t the only Portsmouth-born writer to become a superstar, but while Charles was fiddling about with rewrites and plot structures, Percy Westerman was hammering out adventures at an unbelievable rate of knots.

The Novel Cure: Literary prescriptions for being tempted

Ailment: Tempted, being

Ian Dickens (left), the great-great-grandson of the author, with sculptor Martin Jennings

Charles Dickens ordered that there must never be a statue of him in Britain - but tomorrow one will be unveiled in Portsmouth

Ian Burrell watched sculptor Martin Jennings defy the novelist's wishes

Write or wrong? JK Rowling has cast doubt on her own plots

JK Rowling, Harry and Hermione: Harry Potter's neverending story

JK Rowling says she now regrets yoking Hermione Grainger to Ron Weasley. But should authors leave well alone once they’ve finished writing?

Invisible Ink: No 209 - Raymond Durgnat

Looking back from the present, when serious film critics are more embattled than ever before owing to the egalitarianism of the internet, we can see that Raymond Durgnat was a unique voice. Born in 1932 to Swiss parents, he became one of the first post-graduates of film in Britain. Thorold Dickinson, the director of Gaslight, acted as his mentor, and Durgnat began to write for the major film publications, although he fell out with Sight & Sound (after Gavin Lambert left to head for Hollywood), accusing the magazine of elitism, overt politicisation, snobbery and pretentiousness – charges which still arise against it today.

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