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Armando Iannucci recently said that the UK falls behind the US  when it comes to female comedy writers. Do you find it to be a male-dominated industry?

Dickens tops chart as classic tales remain a hit with parents

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens' 1843 classic in which the stingy Ebenezer Scrooge discovers the generous Christmas spirit, is the book parents most want to pass on to their children, according to a new poll.

Book festival of the week: Edinburgh International Book Festival, Charlotte Square Gardens, Edinburgh

More than 800 writers, commentators and thinkers from 44 countries make up this year's festival, among them Nobel laureates, Booker and Pulitzer prize winners and poets laureate.

The Blagger's Guide To: Oldies

Will you still need me? Will you still feed me?

Cast away: Getting hooked on fishing requires persistence

Stephen Bayley: Compliments for angling? Not after my run-ins with rivers

Fishing? An excuse to travel to some purpose! To engage in something primal as opposed to the tinselly snares and trashy delusions of urban daily life. And an approach to the countryside, urgently needed in my case, with a meditative aspect.

Charles Dickens experts may have uncovered fresh works after completing project to digitise journals

Dickens experts believe they may have uncovered fresh additions to the writer's canon after completing a project to digitise the 19th century weekly journals that the celebrated author once edited.

One Minute With: Shirley Hughes, author & illustrator

Where are you now and what can you see?

<p>1. Night Thoughts by Robert Fraser</p>
<p>£30, oup.com</p>
<p>Colourful biography of the English surrealist poet David Gascoyne. Fabulous.</p>

The 10 Best new biographies

From Banksy and Putin to two men who ran across America

Haddon says: 'Being regarded as a hero by society is an unhealthy situation to be in'

One Minute With: Mark Haddon, novelist

Where are you now and what can you see?

Springtime bloom: The Secret Gardens of Sandwich

Kate Bush scoops South Bank award

Reclusive singer Kate Bush pipped Adele to a prestigious prize after her latest album was recognised at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards.

Charles Dickens; the letter of apology that he sent to William Brookes with his prized copy of David Copperfield

The superstitious Charles Dickens comes to light

The superstitious nature of Britain's greatest writer has come to light thanks to the sale of an inscribed first edition of Charles Dickens's favourite novel with its own intriguing backstory.

Last Man in Tower, By Aravind Adiga

I want you to sell me a storey ...

Reading and relaxation: Parade Gardens in Bath. The city is hosting the 'Independent' Literature Festival

Independent Bath Literature Festival: Follow in the footsteps of Austen, Defoe and Mr Pickwick

A glittering array of writers of fiction, poetry and politics will appear at the Independent Bath Literature Festival from next Friday. John Walsh looks forward to 10 days celebrating the written word.

Chalk Talk: So Dickens is too challenging for today’s children? Not for these ones

There was one voice missing in the debate earlier this month over when children should start reading Dickens – that of the children themselves.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore