Howard Jacobson

Celebrated novelist Howard Jacobson's most recent novel is Man Booker-nominated 'J'. He has also written 'The Finkler Question', published to great acclaim in 2010. An acerbic critic and broadcaster with a passion for literature and art, he is known for his ebullient wit.

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The point of a secret language is to exclude those who don’t speak it

If you want to alienate someone, use the telephony alphabet. It’s certain to drive you November Uniform Tango Sierra

The point of a secret language is to exclude those who don’t speak it

If there are too many people being bumped off in contemporary drama, it’s because writers have forgotten their Shakespeare

I don’t always agree with David Hare. But about the body count, we are as one

The sacking of Kevin Pietersen, the last of the great mavericks, has killed off any lingering interest I had in sport

Who would you rather have coming in to bat at number four? Mother Teresa?

Those cleaning up Soho say they object to its sleaze. But isn’t that the whole point of the area I call home?

Sex itself seems to have given up the ghost and gone home to play on its computer

Coronation Street's Roy and Hayley Cropper

The lingering death of Hayley in Coronation Street is just too painful for me to watch

Art isn’t life, whereas soap opera always somehow feels as though it is

The French interior minister wants Dieudonne banned M'bala M'bala from the stage for what he says are racist and anti-Semitic performances.

If the quenelle isn’t Jew-hating, why is it performed on the railway track to Auschwitz

In all my table-tennis triumphs while studying at Cambridge, I never felt the need to touch my right shoulder in tribute to F R Leavis

A new year is by far the most upsetting date in the calendar

It marks the passage of time even more fatefully than birthdays do

Edward Snowden delivered this year's Alternative Christmas Message on Channel 4

Edward Snowden should have asked the Queen for a few tips on his Christmas message

In fairness to Snowden, the Queen has been giving Christmas messages for a long time

This Christmas try having yours hopes dashed and expectations thwarted. It will do you good

Doing without even when one doesn’t have to is a good principle to learn

South Africa's deaf community accused the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial of being 'fake'

The fake sign language interpreter at Mandela's memorial is an irresistible metaphor for our times

The moment we forget our buffoonery, we invite the gods to slap us down

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Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn