Philip Hensher

Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Exeter, Philip Hensher was among Granta 20 Best of Young British Novelists in 2003. The author of six novels, a collection of short stories and an opera libretto, he has won numerous prizes including the Somerset Maugham Award and the Stonewall Journalist of the Year. His 2008 novel, 'The Northern Clemency', was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Commonwealth Prize. A regular presence in the British media, alongside his Wednesday column for The Independent, he writes for The Spectator and Mail on Sunday.

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Towering ambition: the only pig spotted flying over the Battersea Power Station was this giant inflatable one re-creating Pink Floyd's cover of their 1977’s album Animals

Philip Hensher: Battersea Power Station - The white elephant saved? Pigs might fly

I see Battersea Power Station every day, and, even in its dilapidated state, it never fails to raise the spirits.

Canada, By Richard Ford

This novel of two halves, about a fugitive from his own past, who begins again in Canada, is a 'miracle of transcription and feeling'

Kharkiv's Metalist stadium in Ukraine, scene of violence and racist attacks

Philip Hensher: Some things are more important than sport

It's unusual, to say the least, to hear a sporting figure advising fans not to go to a sporting event. But Sol Campbell, the footballer, had reason on his side for telling people to give Euro 2012, held this year in Poland and Ukraine, a miss.

Pay up: British banks have ways of getting extra money out of their customers

Philip Hensher: Why should this lot get rich at my expense?

Britain is alone in Europe in maintaining free banking – or "free banking", as one ought to call it. Banks in Europe charge on average about £70 a year for basic banking services.

Bring Up the Bodies, By Hilary Mantel

The sequel to 'Wolf Hall' is a striking account of one of English history's most shocking episodes. But it can be hard to navigate such austere prose

Mezzo-soprano: Katherine Jenkins is a classical-popular crossover singer

Philip Hensher: Will nobody mourn the death of classical music?

A couple of years ago, I arranged to meet a friend at Vauxhall Tube station. I was there a few minutes early. In the ticket hall, there was a pleasant and familiar sound. Surprisingly, London Underground seemed to have decided to play Beethoven's Seventh Symphony over the tannoys.

An absolute shower: Prince Charles fulfils a lifelong ambition

Philip Hensher: It's tough to sack a civil servant (I should know)

The number of civil servants has, interestingly, dropped very substantially under the Coalition. Whether as a result of redefinition or of stripping down, the numbers have fallen since the Brownite high point, from over half a million to a mere 434,000.

Philip Hensher: There are some crime stories that will never reveal their ending

The urges of narrative have their own place. But life does not always conform to its structures

Philip Hensher: The spies who failed to notice a dead co-worker

You would expect a faster response to a disappearance if you worked on a till at Tesco

Author J.K. Rowling

Philip Hensher: Do you think people can be 'cured' of their sexuality through prayer? Get over it!

Stonewall's awareness-raising campaign has been running for a few years now. It states, in bold letters, "Some people are gay. Get over it". That's easy to say: persuading people into a position of tolerance, or not caring either way, might take a little longer.

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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss