Rob Sharp

Rob Sharp is a freelance journalist specialising in arts and culture. He was on staff at The Independent from July 2007 to December 2011, first as a features writer, and then as the paper’s arts correspondent. He has written for a wide range of newspapers and magazines. For more information visit his website, www.robsharp.com or email him at rs@robsharp.com.

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Emergency: more puddings please, Heston

It is the ultimate middle-class nightmare, and likely to cause mayhem in the aisles: Waitrose has sold out of its Heston Blumenthal's Hidden Orange Christmas puddings, forcing desperate customers to bid up to £150 for the desserts on eBay.

Tim Minchin

Fantastic Mr Minchin wows the West End

Comedian earns acclaim for musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic surreal novel Matilda

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living 1991

Skill or skullduggery? Damien Hirst gets a major UK retrospective

The ultimate symbol of the art world's excesses will form the centrepiece of the first major British retrospective of Damien Hirst's work next year at Tate Modern. For the Love of God, the diamond-encrusted skull which notoriously sold for £50m in 2007 to a consortium which included Hirst himself, will be housed in the gallery's huge turbine hall for nearly three months. As the world struggles with economic troubles, some of the artist's best-known works, many of which have sold for millions, have been chosen to showcase British art during London's Olympic year.

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living 1991

Has Damien Hirst jumped the shark?

Tate Modern will host the artist's first British retrospective next year. But critics are divided about whether he deserves it

The Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy

That'll teach them – mural records Duffy's rift with exam board that banned her poem

Poet Laureate's work is enshrined by Leeds school in a giant wood-cut artwork

2003: One of the Priddy Circles, with sinkholes and ditches clearly visible

Not a Priddy sight: man held after Bronze Age stone circle vandalised

A man has been arrested after a set of Bronze Age earthworks more than 4,000 years old were vandalised.

Judge puts library cuts back on shelf

A High Court judge has ruled proposed library closures in Somerset and Gloucestershire are "unlawful", reversing the decision to close them and creating fresh hope for those seeking to challenge library service cutbacks nationwide.

Nurse goes from children's wards to literary awards with first novel

Christie Watson makes Costa shortlist only three years after quitting job to study creative writing

Bookshops attack charity tax breaks

A battle has broken out on the high street after bookshops attacked charity shops for using tax breaks to undercut them.

The Last Supper, 1495-1498, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan:
Impossible to transport, as it is painted directly on to a wall, this is Leonardo's second most famous painting, and shows the last days of Jesus. It began to flake as early as 1517, and has been the subject of a series of restoration projects, the most recent of which was completed in 1999.

Who needs the National? Where to see the world's other Da Vincis

If you can't face the new blockbuster show, visit these instead

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Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why