Chief Inspector of Prisons labels Government's policy banning books for prisoners a 'mistake'

Pressure mounts on Justice Secretary as Nick Hardwick tells The Independent that policy is unnecessary 'micro-management' by politicians

Signatories to the letter include: (top,from left to right) Alan Bennett, Carol Ann Duffy, Sarah Waters, (bottom) Philip Pullman, Joanne Harris, and Salman Rushdie

Top writers outraged at ban on books for prisoners

Alan Bennett, Sir Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, Carol Ann Duffy, Philip Pullman, Irvine Welsh, Nick Hornby and Ian Rankin among signatories to letter condemning policy

Up to 272 libraries are thought to have closed since 2010

Libraries and bookshops unite against twin threat of austerity and changing reading habits

Libraries and bookstores are holding talks on ways they can work together as they battle to survive austerity and changing reading habits - amid fears from independent bookshops that they could be put under more pressure by libraries deciding to begin selling as well as lending in attempts to stay open.

Tennessee Williams, drink in hand, photographed in 1970

Unseen Tennessee Williams short story published for first time

'Crazy Night' centres on a debauched student night full of alcohol and sex

Philip Pullman, author

Authors blast Chris Grayling's 'vindictive act' of banning prisoners from receiving books

Philip Pulman (above) said the new law was 'disgusting, mean and vindictive'

Cliff Wright's original cover art for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is being auctioned for a starting price of £12,131

Harry Potter cover art goes on sale for £20,000

Two original artworks by British painter Cliff Wright can be bidded for online

Invisible Ink: No 216 - Anna Katharine Green

How secure and comfortable the Victorian middle classes seemed, playing cricket through summer, reading their papers beside the fire through the winter, safe in the knowledge that they were the decent, fair-minded rulers of the free world.

JRR Tolkien in his study at Merton College, Oxford, in 1955

JRR Tolkien's translation of Beowulf to be published after 88 years

Epic poem believed to have inspired Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit

Martin Amis in London

Martin Amis: Money has finally defeated British obsession with social class

The monarchy is 'nearing the end of the road,' the author believes

Invisible Ink: No 215 - E W Hornung

How secure and comfortable the Victorian middle classes seemed, playing cricket through summer, reading their papers beside the fire through the winter, safe in the knowledge that they were the decent, fair-minded rulers of the free world.

Between the covers

What’s really going on in the world of books

Quidditch players in the film ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’

J K Rowling turns to sports writing – with Quidditch

Harry Potter author publishes online first part of a history of the fictional Quidditch World Cup

Books published by a company owned by Michael O’Mara have been accused of ‘alienating’ children

Gender-specific children’s books ‘are easier to sell’, insists children's book publisher

A leading children’s publisher has said he will not bow to pressure to stop labelling books for either girls or boys – because it is a “fact of life” that people search for gifts according to gender.

George Saunders, a professor of creative writing at Syracuse University, was named the inaugural winner of The Folio Prize

George Saunders wins inaugural Folio Prize, dubbed the 'Booker without the bow ties', with latest short story collection

An American short story writer whom Zadie Smith once described as having “intimidating talent” has won the heavyweight new literary award set up to compete with the Man Booker Prize.

Lionel Shriver’s most recent novel, ‘Big Brother’, concerns a morbidly overweight character

Lionel Shriver says it is too easy to blame the food industry for obesity

The author talks about her latest novel at the Independent Bath Literature Festival

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