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The rise and rise of performance poetry

Performance poetry has come a long way since its alternative 1960s roots, but it still falls foul of traditionalists. On the eve of National Poetry Day, Peter Howarth looks at how the genre is standing up and being heard

The Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson on busking and Judi Dench

With sales of ‘The Gruffalo’ topping 13 million, Julia Donaldson is one of the most successful children’s authors ever. She tells John Walsh how busking in hippie-era San Francisco – and sharing a stage with Judi Dench – helped her on the path to literary stardom

One Minute Interview with Jackie Collins

Where are you now and what can you see?

Sitting in my writing study gazing out at the Hollywood Hills, a profusion of palm trees and my gorgeous azure swimming pool.

Long live Jackie Collins's feminist heroines; Week in Books

When Linda discovered her husband, David, was having an affair with a young actress, she didn’t stand by her man, or go lingerie-shopping in hope to win him back (this was the 1960s). She filed for divorce. The mistress got bored and David promptly ran back to Linda, only to find her with a new man – a Hollywood big cheese – who, in the parlance of this fiction, could keep it in his trousers. David hit the bottle. The women went on to greater things. The End.

When Stephen King met Lee Child

At a recent book signing by the bestsellng authors, the crowd went wild. But the two biggest fans in the room were the writers themselves.

The big book that's creating the big Booker stir; Week in Books

There are various points of contention in this year’s Man Booker shortlist – age (five out of six are aged between 28 and 46), America (four out of six live over there), anti-establishmentarianism (all the “revered” men and women of letters have been stripped out, bar Anne Tyler). But the biggest, most interesting, controversy surely comes in the choice of one book which has divided the critics – it seems – like no other.

The lost continent: The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

The west's fixation on its own history has led us to ignore the vast terrain of the 'Silk Roads', to which we owe our civilisation, and thus to misunderstand its peoples. In his new book, Peter Frankopan aims to correct our perspective