Arts and Entertainment

Nina Stibbe moved to London in 1982 to work as a nanny for Mary-Kay Wilmers, the editor of the London Review of Books. In the years following, she wrote letters home to her sister in Leicester, and Love, Nina is the result.

Sotheby's director of the department of printed books and manuscripts Dr Philip Errington poses for photographers with a first edition copy of the first Harry Potter book

First edition of Harry Potter with annotations by JK Rowling fetches wizard £150,000 price

A first edition of the first in the Harry Potter series containing hand drawings and annotations by author JK Rowling has sold at auction for £150,000.

The Wind in the Willows, West Yorkshire Playhouse

The Playhouse needed to do something special to match last Christmas’s feelgood revival of Annie. But Ian Brown, making a speedy return as director to the house he left just this year after more than a decade at its artistic helm, comes within a mole’s whisker of achieving that formidable goal.

Alan Bennett would make a great guest editor for the Today programme

Today's the day for new blood in the radio programme's editor's chair

The names of the guest editors lined up for Radio 4's Today show were released today. Between 27 December and New Year's Day, the 6am to 9am slot will be in the hands of the Nobel prize-winning geneticist Sir Paul Nurse, journalist Dame Ann Leslie, comedian Al Murray, poet Benjamin Zephaniah and the US philanthropist Melinda Gates, wife of Bill.

Protesters outside the Kensal Rise Library in north-west London

Residents battle to preserve library gifted to community by Mark Twain

It was handed to the community by author Mark Twain more than a hundred years ago. Now that community is fighting to keep it open. A group of protesters became a figurehead for the host of anti-library closure campaigns across the country yesterday as they barricaded the doors and stopped its shelves being stripped of books.

Protesters outside the Kensal Rise Library in north-west London

Protesters barricade doors of Kensal Rise Library in bid to stop the council clearing shelves books

It was handed to the local community by the author Mark Twain more than a hundred years ago. Now that community is fighting to keep it. Protesters are barricading the doors of their local library in a bid to stop the council clearing its shelves of books.

Leading article: Libraries can prosper - if they change

The plan to allow the reading public to rent e-books, much as they rent movies, has proved so much more contentious than its pioneer, the former Waterstones managing director Tim Coates, had hoped.

At 83 years old, celebrated New York writer Cynthia Osick is the oldest woman to make the prize’s long list with Foreign Bodies

Cynthia Ozick (aged 83) in running for Orange Prize

Cynthia Ozick has become the oldest writer to compete for the Orange Prize for Fiction, beating the previous record by almost a decade.

Fiction writer, Jean Rhys, famed for Wide Sargasso Sea, will be honoured by English Heritage at Paultons Square

A happy twist in the tale of literature's great outsider

A blue plaque will honour Jean Rhys, whose life was marked by alcoholism, prostitution and doomed affairs

Griff Rhys Jones: 'We tried to write a sitcom together - I was hopeless, but we had the jolliest of times'

How We Met: Christopher Luscombe & Griff Rhys Jones

'We tried to write a sitcom together – I was hopeless, but we had the jolliest of times'

Simon English: If the bankers are loathed, they are the ones to blame

A * old joke for a new year: why should you get immediately furious at your bank? Because it saves time later. People have been complaining about banks for as long as they have existed. It seems unlikely 2012 will be the year it stops. Of all the institutions created by man, banks seem the hardest to control, the least answerable to any kind of democratic process. Even bankers find this to be so.

Fretwork/Wilkinson/Courtenay, Kings Place, London

Winter solstice: the longest, darkest night of the year. How better to spend it than with a top soprano, a theatrical knight, and six viols, and where better than in the soft blue gloom of Kings Place? All came with promising baggage: the Fretwork ensemble had just released a remarkable viol-arrangement of Bach's 'Goldberg Variations'; Clare Wilkinson had dazzled us a few days previously with her a cappella exploits with I Fagiolini; and Sir Tom Courtenay – well, we knew where he was coming from. Fretwork would provide instrumental music, Courtenay would give us poems.

US writer not surprised to win 'bad sex' award

A reimagining of the Oedipus myth in the 20th century has won the annual Literary Review's Bad Sex in Fiction Award.

Mongrel Island, Soho Theatre, London

"Work is more fun than fun," Noel Coward once declared. As far as we know, though, Noel never had to drudge from nine to five in an office processing the timesheets of care-workers. That happens to be the fate of Marie, the twentysomething harried and likeable central character in Mongrel Island, Ed Harris's accomplished, if slightly trying play.

Between The Covers: 22/05/2011

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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...