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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?

Between The Covers: 13/11/2011

Your weekly guide to what's really going on inside the world of books

Invisible Ink: No 91 - Charles Dickens

There was once a comedy sketch from the Monty Python precursor At Last the 1948 Show in which the annoying bibliophile Marty Feldman tried to buy a copy of Rarnaby Budge by Darles Chickens.

What the...? Dickens to get unwanted statue

The design has been chosen for the United Kingdom's first-ever statue of its greatest novelist, Charles Dickens, in spite of his request, made at his funeral, that there should be no monuments in his honour.

Letter from the editor: Great Expectations

The BBC is expected to begin filming the opening scenes of its adaptation of Great Expectations today, on the marshlands of Tollesbury, near Maldon (where the salt comes from).

Thackeray, By D J Taylor

The forgotten Victorian man of letters

Bicentenary of Dickens's birth sparks off a battle of the bonnets

Such is the frenzy of filming activity surrounding the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens that two of Hollywood's best-known actresses, Helena Bonham Carter and Gillian Anderson, find themselves in a battle of the bonnets as they both prepare to play the role of Miss Havisham in Great Expectations.

Hard Times, Library Theatre, Manchester

To get to the performance of Hard Times you have to traverse a long brick gallery in Murray’s Mills in Ancoats on the Victorian industrial area of Manchester. This was a working mill from 1798 until the late 1950s and a textile temple of the rapacious capitalism which is the subject of Dickens’ scathing satire. In it you now pass a tableau of everyday 1850s life.

Hazel Dickens: Pioneering bluegrass singer whose songs championed the working class

The singer and songwriter Hazel Dickens was one of the women who changed the face of American country music. From this petite, wiry frame came an unexpectedly powerful voice. She sang harrowing tales about the lives of working-class Americans, the human cost of capitalism – particularly in the mining industry – in songs such as "Black Lung", "Coal Mining Woman", "The Yablonski Murder", the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning documentary Harlan County, USA (1976) and the coal-strike feature film Matewan (1987). She sang old folk songs, honoured ancestors of choice like Sarah Ogan Gunning, Nimrod Workman and Florence Reece – source of the strident anthem "Which Side Are you On?" – in "Freedom's Disciple (Working-Class Heroes)", as well as singing women's anthems like "Don't Put Her Down, You Helped Put Her There".

John Sullivan: Writer who created the classic sitcom 'Only Fools and Horses', as well as 'Citizen Smith' and 'Just Good Friends'

If he had only ever written Only Fools and Horses...John Sullivan would have ensured his place among the creators of classic television sitcoms.

G K Chesterton: A Biography, By Ian Ker

A voyage around GK's Father is only half the story

Harry Lloyd: The man who would be king

Once touted as the next Doctor Who, Harry Lloyd's time has come with roles in HBO's new fantasy epic and Jane Eyre.

The Brontës - Cinemagoers have had their fill of this sister act

Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre return to the screen in September. Today's film-makers are too obsessed with the Brontë sisters, argues Geoffrey Macnab

Cultural Life: Patrick Wolf, musician

Music: I have been re-listening to one of my favourite albums called 'Winter in the Belly of a Snake' by Venetian Snares, the performing alias of Aaron Funk. It's a beautiful concept record with an amazingly futuristic, electronic sound. It really puts so-called dub-step to shame. To de-stress I always turn to Stephan Micus. His contemporary take on classical, renaissance and medieval music often builds on peaceful sounds of the wind. Whenever I am feeling mental or tense I escape to Cornwall with Stephan Micus and Meredith Monk's records.

The Cookbook Collector, By Allegra Goodman

A sisters' story that's big enough to take on its literary forefathers
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game