Joan Smith

Known for her human rights activism and writing on subjects such as atheism and feminism, Joan Smith is a columnist, critic and novelist. An Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and a regular contributor to BBC radio, she has written five detective novels, two of which have been filmed by the BBC.

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Now it's official: child-rearing is women's work

On Sundays, dads up and down the land look forward to football with their kids and a lazy family lunch. It's an idyllic picture of life in 21st-century Britain, but for once I want to talk about all the men who don't have children. What's wrong with the one in five who don't become fathers?

Sex, lies and undercover police officers

If someone agrees to an intimate relationship on the basis of lies, can they really be said to have given meaningful consent to sex?

The Vicky Pryce jury proves the system works

Hang on a minute: I know we're all guffawing over the behaviour of the jury in the trial of Vicky Pryce, but are there really grounds for assuming that something went badly wrong? Hilarious as some of their questions to the judge appeared to be, it's possible to come to a very different conclusion, namely that the system actually worked rather well.

George Galloway's Israel denial may repel the mainstream, but it further cements his reputation within his religious constituency

Galloway has ended up representing the nearest thing Britain has to a religious party

Oscar Pistorius: The red-tops have a repellent new invention - murder trial porn

Earlier this month, a 17-year-old girl died in hospital after being brutally gang-raped in South Africa. The details are too horrible to repeat and the murder sparked public protests, even if it received less attention outside the country than the recent gang rape of a student in India. South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world, with almost 150 cases reported to the police every day and many more unreported. It also had the highest rate of intimate femicide – murders of women by their partners – according to a 1999 study.

It's 12p for a burger, but you do get some change

Thirteen years ago, a trial in Yorkshire revealed that hundreds of tons of poultry declared unfit for human consumption had entered the food chain. For several years, five men had operated a nationwide scam, selling chicken and turkey destined for pet food to butchers' shops, restaurants and supermarkets. Stomach-churning details emerged of how they'd washed the meat to get rid of mould and faeces, and soaked it in brine to remove the stench. The judge criticised the gang for targeting discount supermarkets serving poorer consumers who couldn't afford more expensive cuts of meat.

For the victim trials can be a second ordeal

Frances Andrade is believed to have killed herself during the trial of Michael Brewer

There's only one Clinton now. She's been great

Hillary Clinton's memoirs end in 2001, just after she was elected to the Senate and eight years before she became Barack Obama's Secretary of State. They're called Living History, but her own political career was still in the future when the Clintons left the White House for the last time. The woman who stepped down as the US's chief diplomat two days ago is living proof that Scott Fitzgerald was wrong when he said there are no second acts in American lives.

Queen of fiction: Hilary Mantel

The Costa Book Award is hers, but let's be frank: Hilary Mantel peddles snobbish period soap operas

These books are heavy on history but light on emotional substance

Women will now play a bigger role in protecting the country, after the Obama administration lifted the ban on women in combat roles

War kills women – in uniform, in civvies

The assumptions that once kept women out of the military have been totally undermined by modern warfare

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Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices