Terence Blacker

The writer and broadcaster Terence Blacker contributes a twice-weekly column on a wide range of social, cultural and environmental issues. He is the author of four novels, of prize-winning fiction for children, and has written a highly praised biography of the brilliant reprobate Willie Donaldson.

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A detail from the now iconic 50 Shades of Grey book cover

No wonder '50 Shades' readers behave as they do. Books have that effect on people

Literature provides a more powerful and intimate experience than film or music

Maybe Alain de Botton’s right – perhaps we are becoming kinder

We care more about our fellow human beings than we used to

Columnist and writer Caitlin Moran

Caitlin Moran's honesty is the perfect antidote to revelations about Andy Coulson and Rolf Harris

Ah, the pleasures of the self – not such a male preserve after all

Bernard Jordan returns

The ‘D-Day rascal’ lets us indulge a modern pastime – patronising the old

It seems that anyone who has reached the age of 89 should be presumed to be so helpless that merely catching a train represents an act of derring-do

Life-enhancing wit: Nicholson Baker

Travelling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker, book review: A strange and interesting mind delights

Long before we entered this golden age of over-sharing, Nicholson Baker was fossicking through the stuff of intimate daily life, exploring in detail which borders on the obsessive-compulsive the subjects that fascinate him – words, books, music, poetry, humans, sex.

Why Ségolène Royal is right about décolletage

If she did indeed argue that professional women working in her ministry should avoid flashing the flesh, was that really such an outrageous thing to suggest?

Updike by Adam Begley, book review: A biography shows that John Updike's talent was for fiction, not domestic drama

In 1999,John Updike contributed an essay about what he called "the Judas biography" to the New York Review of Books. "I raise the possibility," he wrote, "that we resent a fiction writer's manipulation of his private life, including the private life of those around him, and rejoice when he or she loses control."

Singing from the Floor by JP Bean, book review: A glorious history of folk music and those who made it

It is not difficult to mock folk clubs. Middle-aged, occasionally solemn, riven with rules about what is acceptably traditional, they may sing brave songs of freedom but that spirit is not always extended to music of which they disapprove.

Stop the snobbery – kids won’t fall for a book just because a celebrity wrote it

It is time to be a little more relaxed when people like Russell Brand barge in

Fresh chapter: The Big Book Share gives prisoners an element of normality

Why books are a lifeline for prisoners

Terence Blacker was on a visit to a prison to talk about the benefits of reading when he heard about the ban on books. Where better to contemplate the folly of the move?

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