Gillian Orr

Gillian Orr writes about the arts for The Independent.

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Teenage kicks: a scene from 'The Fault in Our Stars', the latest Young Adult publishing success story

Is popular teen fiction like The Fault in our Stars wasted on young readers?

The Fault in our Stars is the bestselling book of the year so far, proving that Young Adult fiction is also read by those old enough to know better

Portfolio: Sergei Produkin-Gorsky provides a record of life before fall of Romanov dynasty

As ruler of the largest single territory in the world at the time, it was impossible for Tsar Nicholas II to travel the extent of Russia, which at the turn of the 20th century extended from Finland to Turkestan, and from Poland to Siberia.

Blyton shock: Biddy Baxter (pictured centre with her fellow Blue Peter presenters) was heartbroken to receive two identical letters from her idol

Have you ever written fan mail to a favourite author? From Enid Blyton to JD Salinger, these readers were surprised by the response...

Two recent stories have shed light on the way in which fan letters are handled

Portfolio: Alessandro Gandolfi's images of teenage girls who ride the waves along Gaza's 25 miles of Mediterranean coastline

Among the growing band of surfers who ride the waves along Gaza's 25 miles of Mediterranean coastline, you'll find a rather curious sight: a small group of teenage girls on boards.

A stripper (not 'Tony') entertains a hen do in London
A bite of the action: A peddler sells snacks at one of the entrances to the Santa Marta ‘favela’ (shantytown) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Away from fast food fare of World Cup stadiums, Brazilian cuisine is delicious and diverse

From feijoada to caprinhas, Gillian Orr offers up a taste of the nation
Slenderman was crafted as a lanky man, with a featureless face, sometimes with tentacles protruding from his back, who would stalk and abduct children before murdering them in the woods

Slender Man: Horror character may have led two teenage girls to brutally stab a classmate. But who - or what - is he?

Until this week, Slender Man was known only to internet horror fans who would write stories about him and share his legend. But his tale took a sinister turn after it was revealed that two Wisconsin schoolgirls had allegedly stabbed a classmate because they wanted to please the mythological character

Portfolio: Nebraskan-born engineer Dr Harold Edgerton photographed motion that was too fast to be captured with traditional methods

Dr Harold Edgerton led the sort of life that lends itself to a Hollywood biopic. During his illustrious career the MIT professor, who died in 1990 at the age of 86, made advances in night aerial photography that was used during the Second World War, photographed nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s, and used radar to help illuminate the ocean floors for Jacques Cousteau.

Metronomy and Pixies are already confirmed to perform at Field Day 2014

Field Day 2014: Who are the hip new kids on the block?

New bands often emerge at the hip festival and this year is no exception

Richard Martinez has delivered a series of emotional and rousing speeches

Father of one of Elliot Rodger's victims calls for people to use postcards to tackle gun crime

In an age of online 'slactivism', paper can still pack a punch, finds Gillian Orr
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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003