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.

LK Bennett seeks outside investors

Linda Bennett, the "Queen of the kitten heel", is planning to cash in on the success of her LK Bennett fashion empire by handing control of her £75m business to outside investors.

Alan Bennett comes out fighting as he recounts the night he was beaten up

Playwright goes public about his sexuality because 'police routinely ignore homophobic attacks'

The Dark, Donmar Warehouse, London

There can be few more piquantly paradoxical ways of lighting up a stage than by dramatising the consequences of a power-cut.

A week in books

Tales just too good to be true

Theatre review: The Lady in the Van Queen's Theatre, London

Alan Bennett's frequently hilarious autobiographical play stars Maggie Smith as the homeless old tramp who lived in a van in the playwright's driveway for 15 years. This combative, ungrateful, car-mad religious maniac, with delusions of being at the centre of some conspiracy, is played here in a performance of quite brilliant formidability and pathos. The play is studded with great comic lines, but I was never reconciled to the brightly coloured pop-up book feel of Nicholas Hytner's production.

Books: Time, ladies and gentlemen, please

Is that Mrs Woolf, in a room of her own? And Monsieur Camus, outside? Felix Bennett invites you to the last literary party of the century

Theatre: Driving Miss Crazy

The Lady in the Van Queen's, London

Profile: Alan Bennett; An Englishman abroad

In Writing Home, his best-selling volume of diary extracts, prefaces and occasional pieces, Alan Bennett records that in September 1982 his friend, the television presenter Russell Harty, invented a new parlour game. It involved tackling the momentous question: "Whose underpants would you least like to be gagged by?"

Theatre: Hull hath no fury...

LARKIN WITH WOMEN STEPHEN JOSEPH THEATRE

Arts: Alan Bennett: `He makes it easy for you'

Actors and directors on the playwright's qualities as his stage version of `The Lady in the Van' opens in London

Theatre: Death... and the very peculiar maiden

I'LL BE TED, YOU BE SYLVIA HAMPSTEAD THEATRE LONDON

Letting rip for love's sake

Thursday Book: REFERENCE BACK: PHILIP LARKIN'S UNCOLLECTED JAZZ WRITINGS, 1940-84 EDITED BY RICHARD PALMER AND JOHN WHITE UNIVERSITY OF HULL PRESS, pounds 19.99

Arts: Theatre: Loner among wastrels

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE THE COTTESLOE PLACE LONDON
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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

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From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

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Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

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Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

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Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

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Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick