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Kevin Brooks’s 'The Bunker Diary'

How Grimm should teen fiction get?

It was sad to hear how long it had taken young adult (YA) fiction author Kevin Brooks to publish The Bunker Diary, as he collected the Carnegie Medal for it. Or why it had taken so long, I should say. Ten years, he revealed, because no publisher would touch a YA book whose themes – kidnapping, illness, torture and drug addiction – didn’t offer enough “hope”.

Hope floats: Emma left London in a bid to find out more about sailing - and herself

Voyage of (self) discovery: Writer Emma Bamford reveals how she found happiness on the high seas in new book Casting Off

Bamford was a journalist at The Independent when she decided to walk away from it all and sail off into the wide blue yonder. She crewed on various boats and travelled the world, from Borneo to the billionaires' playground of the Amalfi Coast. As the book of her adventures is published, she shares what she learnt at sea

Philip Hensher: A big gay waltz to the music of time

Philip Hensher talks to Suzi Feay about his work, which straddles many eras

John Burnside: The poet opens up about his father's cruelty, the hurtfulness of language – and why he walked away from love

I always wanted to be a painter I loved painting. I went on three different art courses but had no talent whatsoever. On the third one, the teacher said to me, "I hear you're a poet?" I said yes, and he said, "I think you should stick to it; put it this way, you're never going to be Cézanne."

The Diarists: This week in history

30 June 1827

The Top Ten: Yiddish words

Thank you to Michael Fishberg and Matt Hoffman for this one. Matt noodged me to do it. Chutzpah has already featured in 'Top 10 useful words for which there is no English equivalent', which is just as well, because competition for these 10 places was fierce.

The Novel Cure: Literary prescriptions for wasting time on a dud relationship

Ailment: Wasting time on a dud relationship

Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Objects: Remington No 1

* Christopher Sholes and Carlos Glidden didn't actually invent the typewriter. John Pratt's 'Pterotype' provided much of the inspiration for the two men, a Wisconsin printer and inventor respectively. But the Remington No 1, also known as the Sholes & Glidden, was the first typewriter to achieve any kind of commercial viability. It went on sale this week in 1874.

Classic re-issues: From Cider with Rosie to Shakespeare's Montaigne - fresh outings for the gifts that keep on giving

It isn't just new books that can spring surprises. The Cyberiad (Penguin, £9.99), a collection of stories from Stanislaw Lem first published in Polish in 1965, knocked me sideways. I only really knew about Lem because of Solaris, the masterful (and determinedly laugh-free) film by the great Andrei Tarkovsky, and the rather ponderous translation of the source novel that found its way to the UK in the 1970s.

Arifa Akbar: Books help inmates to turn the page

The Week in Books
Mother courage: Margaret Beaufort as portrayed in the BBC’s The White Queen

Real-life Game of Thrones: Henry VII's mother Margaret Beaufort had to become shrewd and calculating to survive her troubled era

The story of Henry VII's mother might not be well known, but without her, the Tudors would never have come to power, says Livi Michael

The outlook's Rosie: Laurie Lee in Slad, a landscape 'farmed and fenced by literature'

Laurie Lee: As I walked out one Midsummer morning

A century ago tomorrow saw the birth of Laurie Lee, whose most famous work, Cider with Rosie, immortalised the countryside of his youth. Boyd Tonkin strolls through the Slad Valley to see what remains of its celebrated past
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The Strictly Come Dancing 2014 contestants and their professional dance partners open the twelfth run of the celebrity ballroom contest

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