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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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
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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
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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