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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Let children play outside and pick flowers, the National Trust says

Christina Patterson: It's not just children who never get the pleasure of walking in pathless woods

It wasn't exactly Wordsworth, but it's probably the nearest she'll get. "I thought," said my mother, who thinks a mobile phone is something for a special occasion, but who has recently learnt to attach photos to emails, which she now does all the time, "that you'd like to see these lovely daffodils."

Christina Patterson: To win the war on gangs, you have to make their members cry

Being in a gang is like being in a family. But one without parents and where children play with guns

Carry on shopping: Asma Assad knows a lot about jewellery

Christina Patterson: Asma Assad's top tips on necklaces, heels, chandeliers – and courage

Asma Assad is very modest. "I am," she says, "absolutely clueless when it comes to fine jewellery!" But I don't think she should say things like that. I don't think she should do herself down. To me, it doesn't sound as though she's at all "clueless" when it comes to ordering jewellery. To me, it sounds as though she knows an awful lot.

Christina Patterson: Our folly is to think of houses as dreams, not places to live in

Some people think that if they made money through their home they earned it

Serious: Jonathan Franzen prefers people who don’t 'yak'

Christina Patterson: Franzen's right that Twitter can be a curse. But it can also be miraculous

Lady Gaga and Jonathan Franzen have quite a lot in common. They're both American. They're both famous. They're both rich. They're also both artists, and not just any old artists, but the kind of artists other artists want to be, the kind of artists who have millions of fans. But there's one thing they don't have in common, and that's a love of Twitter.

Christina Patterson: Sisters, we've let our teenage daughters down

If they studied history and learnt about feminism, they might wonder what had happened to those battles
Former policeman David Rathband was found dead on Thursday

Christina Patterson: David Rathband found out just how much our society scorns the disabled

It can take a second. It can, of course, take much longer than that, but it can take just a second for a life to fall apart. For David Rathband, it took a few seconds for an unemployed bouncer to puncture his eyeballs, with 200 pellets from two separate gunshots, and it took a few months for his marriage to unravel, and it took a few more months for him to decide that he'd rather be dead.

Christina Patterson: I can't vote for Boris. But I also can't vote for Ken

The man who used to be mayor of London is very much like the man who is currently mayor of London
So there: Einstein's theory of physics still stands

Christina Patterson: If you want a job, 'slave labour' at Tesco isn't a bad place to start

They seem to think that working in a shop is something that should make you feel demeaned

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Day In a Page

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The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

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Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

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Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little