Andy Martin

Andy Martin teaches French at Cambridge University and is the author of The Boxer and the Goalkeeper: Sartre vs Camus

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Andrew Cotton rides the wave of his life in Portugal

Surfing: Andrew Cotton and the giant wave hunt

British plumber was at surfing’s Oscars in LA on Friday night after feat of derring-do in Portugal this year. He tells Andy Martin how the sport is changing as the search for the biggest ride gathers momentum

A surfer heads out to catch the early morning waves in Durban

Andy Martin: Why Nelson Mandela may have spent his lonely prison hours dreaming of catching a wave

The street children taking to the boards on South Africa’s foaming surf may be following the inspiration of the country's former leader himself

The Humans, By Matt Haig

This novel about an alienated genius brings a Martian perspective to life on a strange planet

British teens are the worst at learning languages? Once you’ve cracked Spanish, French is a doddle

Immerse yourself in the language as it is used: real films, real books, real songs

Hooked: Lee Child

A Wanted Man, By Lee Child

An avid fan of the top-selling series test-drives the latest with some more objective readers...

For those who have gone before us: The Memo building will act as a memorial to all those species that have died out

For whom the bell tolls: £20m 'Memo' project takes shape on Dorset's Jurassic coast

It started as a stonemason's visionary idea – to commemorate all the species that have ever existed and are now extinct. Now it's a £20m project supported by The Royal Society and taking shape in an extraordinary new building on Dorset's Jurassic coast.

Andy Martin: Well - do you want a better brain or not?

A second language builds cognitive potential, not just linguistic ability

The Extract: 'The Boxer and the Goalkeeper: Sartre vs Camus'

After his friendship with Jean-Paul Sartre had turned to bitter rivalry, Albert Camus found peace in rural Provence. It was not to last...

Five-minute memoir: Andy Martin recalls how a stolen book changed his life

It was a small family bookshop, on a peaceful back street in a small town on the fringes of London. I treated it as my own personal library, and I would sit there for hours on end, often on the floor, usually not buying anything. I loved that bookshop, so naturally I had to go and betray it.

Land's Edge: a coastal memoir, By Tim Winton

A novelist captures all the glamour, and terror, of the sea

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?