Christina Patterson

Christina Patterson is a writer, broadcaster and columnist. She writes about politics, society, culture, travel, books and the arts. She has interviewed writers and artists ranging from Martin Amis to Eddie Izzard and Werner Herzog, and did the first interview after he left office with Gordon Brown. A former director of the Poetry Society, and literary programmer at the Southbank Centre, she has written for the Observer, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, Time, the Spectator and the New Statesman. She’s a regular commentator on radio and TV news programmes, a regular reviewer on the Sky News press preview, and a regular guest on The Review Show. She has campaigned to improve standards in nursing in a series of articles in the Independent, by speaking at conferences, and in programmes she has made for Radio 4 and The One Show. Christina is the only woman on the shortlist for the Orwell Prize 2013. She has now left The Independent, but can be contacted via her website, www.christinapatterson.co.uk .

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Future perfect in ancient Italy

Room Service: Torre di Moravola, Moravola Alta, Montone, Umbria, Italy

Classics academic Mary Beard

Mary Beard interview: 'I hadn't realised that there were people like that'

The star classicist began by challenging sexism, and is now squaring up to internet trolls

Only the cold-hearted could fail to see a brave and brilliant woman who made a mistake

If you break the law, you have to pay. Those are the rules. Vicky Pryce knows the rules

Yes, Page 3 is bad for women. But so are the photos in OK! magazine

Naked breasts in ‘The Sun’ have made Rupert Murdoch an awful lot of money in 42 years

TV's Matthew Hall, better known as Harry Hill

Harry Hill: The private life of the Lord of Misrule

Harry Hill's TV Burp ripped up the rules of family TV – but not without taking a toll on its star's real-life alter ego, Matthew Hall. Ahead of a tour and an X Factor musical, he talks about life beyond Saturday teatimes

As the Francis report highlights Mid Staffs failings we should name and shame cruel NHS staff

Our writer, who has been a prominent voice in the campaign for better nursing, considers why low standards have become commonplace

ON GERARD BYRNE AT LISSON GALLERY: Looks at the

Why it's time for galleries to dump the jargon

The art world uses words everyone else has dropped

Minnie Driver stars in 'I Give It a Year,' which opens on 8 February

Minnie Driver: 'I dream of a farm, and making bread. I dream of that other life'

Despite the slings and arrows of tabloid infamy, Minnie Driver has forged a stellar Hollywood career. Now, with the advent of middle age, her priorities are changing. So can she stay at the top?

Paula Rego in her London studio

Paula Rego's private world

Now in her eighth decade, and with another new exhibition opening, she's been called 'the best painter of women's experience alive'. So why does she still feel frightened?

Well-versed: Sharon Olds

Me, myself and I: How easy is it to write confessional poetry?

Sharon Olds' account of her marital break-up made her a deserved TS Eliot winner. But that doesn't mean confessional poetry is easy to pull off, says Christina Patterson.

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Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own