Natalie Haynes

Natalie is a guest contributor for The Independent and writes. She was a guest contributor for The Times from 2006 - 2010. She has also written for The Guardian, The Observer, The Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and The Big Issue. She writes a monthly film column for The Reader's Digest magazine.

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Pope Francis gestures during his audience with members of the Schoenstatt movement at the Paul VI hall on October 25, 2014 at the Vatican

God isn't 'a magician with a magic wand', according to the Pope, and there are non-believing vicars

Perhaps gods need to evolve to survive, just like the rest of us

The Amazons: Lives & Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World by Adrienne Mayor, book review

There are myriad myths surrounding the Amazons, but which are based on truth?
The relief, once known as the Elgin Marbles, are now housed in the British Museum

The Elgin Marbles: Could returning them be the thin end of the repatriation wedge?

Returning ancient art to its homeland would certainly set a risky precedent

There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey

She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

The number of people buying tickets has increased by 700 per cent since 2009. But stand-up Natalie Haynes explains why it’s still a tough gig

Augustus: From Revolutionary to Emperor by Adrian Goldsworthy, book review

More images of Augustus survive than of any other human being in the ancient world. Rome's first emperor ruled for over 40 years, establishing a quasi-monarchic system (in place of the fading Republic) which lasted for centuries. He and his adoptive father, Julius Caesar, have given their names to our summer months, and he has been played onscreen by no less an actor than Brian Blessed.

Martin Freeman as Richard III

Martin Freeman, Richard III, and theatre etiquette

Martin Freeman’s Richard III is attracting a new - and rowdier - audience, theatregoers complain. Don’t shush them, says Natalie Haynes, this is how theatre should be

Introducing the Ancient Greeks: From Bronze Age Seafarers to Navigators of the Western Mind by Edith Hall, book review

A new guide to the ancient Greeks details many neglected, diverse achievements. Sci-fi, anyone?
An advert for Pantene ad showing how men and women are judged differently

Adverts for women: The gender agenda

A new marketing campaign by Always is the latest to stress the importance of a woman's appearance. Natalie Haynes looks at whether this is a positive strategy – or exploitative

How To Manage Your Slaves by Marcus Sidonius Falx with Jerry Toner, book review

Worldwide slavery is a very contemporary problem, but what was it like for Romans?
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Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect