Christopher Hirst

Christopher Hirst is an award-winning food writer and freelance journalist.

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Book review: The Sleepwalkers, By Christopher Clark

Probing the events and characters that ignited war in 1914, this book is as authoritative as it is gripping.

Book review: Inventing Ruritania, By Verna Goldsworthy

The vampire chronicles: what bookish Balkans did for us

Book review: The Way the World Works, By Nicholson Baker

"Miniaturist" is the word customarily applied to Baker, and it seems spot-on for the introductory essays in this glittering collection: kite string, warnings on airplane wings etc.

Book review: A Shed of One's Own, By Marcus Berkmann

Marcus Berkmann is so perceptive on the entropy of male middle age that for some of us this book is like looking in a mirror. We nod empathically as he reports on bouts of rage, droopy wattles, rampant eyebrows, of which he says: "I have pulled enough to stuff a chaise longue."

Book review: The Spanish Ambassador's Suitcase, By Matthew Parris & Andrew Bryson

Despite the cartoon cover, this collection of ambassadorial missives is not a work of unbridled hilarity. Occasionally the humour is strained but a 1993 account of getting a Turkmen horse given to John Major through Moscow bureaucracy is a gem.

Book review: Twirlymen, By Amol Rajan

"The great spin bowlers," declared the Aussie spin maestro Arthur Mailey, "were… not always pleasant but invariably interesting." This view is amply substantiated through practitioners from underarm spinner David Harris, who initiated the hat-trick and sat in an armchair between overs, to Shane Warne.

Book review: Clarissa's England, By Clarissa Dickson Wright

Black pudding, red herrings – and lots of fruity detours

Book review: Sit Down and Cheer: A History of Sport on TV, By Martin Kelner

Even if you're indifferent to sport and the conjecture "no one with the possible exception of the Dark Lord, [David] Coleman, did it better than [Frank] Bough", you should buy this book.

Book review: Hello Again…, By Simon Elmes

Remembering stars with a good face, and voice, for radio

Book review: The Fish Store: Recipes and Recollections, By Lindsay Bareham

Restaurants aside, not many buildings inspire food books. Yet this summer feast emerges from a former pilchard factory in Cornwall, purchased as a home in 1939 by Edwin John, son of the painter Augustus John.

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit