Susan Elkin

Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. Her book Unlocking the Reader in Every Child is published by Ransom. She is Education and Training Editor at The Stage.

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The Independent around the web

Susan Elkin: GCSEs are a pointless waste of time

GCSEs are pointless. I told my head of department that 10 years ago and nothing has happened since to change my mind.

A new Greek season for children

"Younger children are interested in the great questions of life – they’re all philosophers until inhibition sets in at puberty – and that’s what myths, with their primordial themes, tend to be about."

William Steig's drawings of the world's favourite ogre decorate his crisp prose in <i>Shrek</i>

Forget chocolate – why not try a book this Easter?

Susan Elkin reviews the best children's and young-adult fiction to help keep your darlings entertained over the spring holidays

Biography: Wilberforce: Family and Friends, By Anne Stott

The greatest of his generation

Dickens: Kind, ruthless, workaholic, radical, and campaigning

Charles Dickens: A tale of two centuries

Susan Elkin selects the best of the new books being published to celebrate Dickens's bicentennial year

A long time ago, in a land far away...

In the first of our three Christmas books specials, Susan Elkin looks at novels for teenagers, while on the following pages our reviewers pick the very best of the year's literary fiction, humour, cinema, politics and audiobooks

Children's Books: Abominable humans (especially parents)

Susan Elkin meets eco-minded yetis and time-warping dogs in her selection of books for the 8-12s

Books: A cooler place in the sun

This summer's harvest of Mediterranean memoirs by bronzed expats is heavier than ever. But plain tales of problems overcome outshine the cosy fantasies. Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes Bantam, pounds 15, 364pp; On the Spine of Italy by Harry Clifton Macmillan, pounds 9.99, 199ppEncore Provence by Peter Mayle Hamish Hamilton, pounds 16.95, 195ppDriving over Lemons by Chris Stewart Sort of Books, pounds 6.99, 250pp

Books: Independent Choice Autumn Blockbusters

Pick of the Week:

Books: Independent choice: Fictional family life

Fictional family life
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Day In a Page

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
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past