Human metamorphosis

In her new book, reflecting on how and why we change, Polly Morland explores 19 true stories. In this extract, she hears how a violinist who felt cut off from ‘real life’ took a 10-year journey to join the police

How to get over writer's block

Novelist Peter de Vries once said, 'I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.'

Emil Zátopek: The greatest Olympian who defied Russian tanks

Emil Zátopek was once the world's best loved athlete – many runners still consider him the greatest Olympic champion of all. But in 1968 his life took a turn for the worse. His brave stand against the Soviet tanks that invaded his native Czechoslovakia saw him fall foul of the Communist authorities – and vanish from public life. Today, he is all but forgotten. And yet, argues Richard Askwith, his story is as relevant today as it has ever been