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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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent