Arts and Entertainment

Bombay Bicycle Club “So Long, See You” (Tomorrow Island)

Novelists writing ballads? Song-writers dashing off novels? What does it all mean?

Does success in one genre guarantee it in another?

The restoration game: Crossways in leafy Hanwell, west London, has failed to sell at auction and may continue to lie derelict

Property news roundup: Why do tenants rent?

Plus Six Nations property breakdown, empty homes, homelessness, and rents in UK cities

Nathan Filer: One minute interview

Where are you now and what can you see?

I’m at the BBC recording Front Row and apparently I’m looking at a brass bust of Henry Wood. The statue is in the foyer.

Arifa Akbar: We've come a long way since the 'madwoman in the attic': week in books

For a long time, the mentally ill were dumb and mute in literature. Inarticulacy surrounded those lumped together as Bedlamites: Jane Eyre’s classic “madwoman” in the attic, for instance, served as little more than a plot device, a thing to fear and loathe that got in the way of a Gothic romance.

Barry Miles's Book of a Lifetime: Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs

Without question, the book that has most influenced my life has been Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs. I was astonished by the outrageous pot-head humour: crazy ideas taken way beyond their normal limits. The book was a savage indictment of American racism and consumerism, it dealt with the corruption, graft and lies of politicians with Swiftian humour. I had never read anything like, then or since.

Cacheco reads one of his poems in Mexico City; his birthplace formed the backdrop to his writing

Jose Emilio Pacheco: Poet, essayist and novelist who won the Cervantes Prize and was regarded as one of the finest writers in Spanish

Jose Emilio Pacheco was considered one of the finest writers in the Spanish language, winning the Cervantes Prize for Literature in 2009, the highest award for writers in what is the native language of more than 300 million people. The award from the Spanish Ministry of Culture was presented at the University of Alcala by Spain's King Juan Carlos. In his later years Pacheco became visiting Professor of Literature at the University of Essex.

Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, pictured in 1944

‘Lost’ Dylan Thomas play starring Richard Burton given first radio broadcast

Original production of South Pacific mystery 'The Beach of Falesá' was shelved after poet’s death in 1953

David Cameron and Al Murray are ‘distant cousins’ family records show

David Cameron and Al Murray are ‘distant cousins’ family records show

The pair are related, equally randomly, through 19th century Vanity Fair writer William Thackeray

Yarl's Wood in Bedfordshire, Britain’s largest Immigration Removal Centre

Handling of female asylum seekers ‘puts UK to shame’

The hidden plight of women asylum seekers detained in Britain is exposed today as a major new report warns that female rape and torture victims are being locked up indefinitely, suffering from depression and being intimidated by male guards.

Nathan Filer, winner of the 2013 Costa Book of the Year

Costa Book of the Year: Debut novelist Nathan Filer is shock winner of prestigious prize

33-year-old upsets the odds with his novel 'The Shock of the Fall' - the story of a teenager's descent into mental illness

Benedict Wong at the Almeida Theatre where he is starring in Chimerica as Chinese dissident Zhang Lin

Chimerica triumphs at Critics Circle Theatre Awards

The play picked up three awards with Rory Kinnear winning two

The truth about revenge sex: What research tells us about going on the rebound

Popular belief that people who are 'dumped' by their partners are more likely to have sex motivated by revenge is in part true, says study

Arifa Akbar: An author who is writing his best work from beyond the grave

Some great authors have published their worst works from beyond the grave. A few though, keep getting better when they’re dead, such as the Chilean novelist and short story writer, Roberto Bolaño. His seminal five-part novel, 2666, came out posthumously, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and convinced the world he was not just a master of the short form but could put out his life’s best work at nearly 900 pages, even after death.

Christians march in the streets in 2012, calling for reforms of the country's blasphemy laws. Muhammad Asghar, a British pensioner who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, has been denied legal independent legal advice

Mohammed Asghar blasphemy case: This flagrant breach of rights must be undone

Last Thursday, Mohammed Asghar, a 69-year-old shopkeeper from Edinburgh who has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, was sentenced to death. The sentence came after two marathon hearings and a three-year trial process.

Catholics are more likely to vote Labour while Church of England worshippers vote Conservative, claims new research

Catholics are more likely to vote Labour while Church of England worshippers most consistently back the Conservatives, according to new research.

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War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police