Orange win makes Obreht the hottest name in fiction

The first-time novelist Téa Obreht's book The Tiger's Wife, a surreal, seductive meander through recent history in the Balkans, has turned the 25-year-old into the latest literary superstar after she was crowned the youngest winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction yesterday.

Three debuts make the Orange Prize shortlist

Three first-time novelists tackling macabre subjects – the aftermath of conflict in the Balkans, a love affair in a mental institution, and the story of a hermaphrodite baby called Wayne – feature in this year's shortlist for the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Chris Cviic: Broadcaster and writer who became a leading expert on

Chris Cviic was a writer and broadcaster who became a leading expert on the former Yugoslavia and the Balkans. Born in Croatia, the son of a businessman, he settled in Britain in 1954. His career took him to the BBC World Service, to St Antony's College, Oxford, to Chatham House and finally to the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, which promotes foreign investment and economic reform in former communist countries.

Europe's biker gangs set on a collision course with the police

In the middle of May this year, thousands of leather-clad bikers from across the Balkans gathered in the Croatian town of Slavonski Brod for a bash celebrating the unbridled joy that comes from tearing up the open road on a powerful two-wheeled hog.

Album: Portico Quartet, Isla (Real World)

Forget the ex-buskers' Mercury-nominated debut. With Isla, produced by John Leckie, Portico have found their mojo: a thrumming, intensely textured and dynamic sound flowing between sax, bass, drums and hang. (Looks like a wok, sounds like a steel drum.)

Album: Madness, The Liberty of Norton Folgate (Lucky Seven)

It's probably stretching a point to suggest that the current 2-Tone revival says as much about our present social corrosion as any learned sociological treatise; though certainly, the last time blue-eyed ska bands were this popular, the country was riven with inner-city riots and being bled dry by complete bankers. Sound familiar?