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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?

Andersen's English, Hampstead Theatre, London

Sebastian Barry's subtle, speculative new play takes off from a sad yet amusing real-life circumstance.

Polar Bears, Donmar Warehouse, London<br/>Andersen's English, Hampstead Theatre, London<br/>Beyond the Horizon/Spring Storm, NT Cottesloe

In Mark Haddon's first foray into theatre, a manic depressive slips into a decline and takes her saviour down with her

Book Of A Lifetime: Of Walking On Ice, By Werner Herzog

Simple acts of walking are threaded through the fiction of many writers, such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Franz Kafka, who put their characters on the road for compelling reasons. So it seemed an idea to round them all up, and steer them into an anthology called The Burning Leg. Twenty authors gathered. Except my favourite was missing, because his words are non-fiction, though they flow fantastically. Quest, myth and even farce colour the pages of his rich and remarkable diary - the sort of diary that invites you to stop reading before pulling on your Timberlands.

Observations: Joseph Fiennes is the new face of Carte Noire Readers

At the moment we're used to seeing Joseph Fiennes play action man. As the star of the US television sci-fi drama FlashForward, he charges around Los Angeles waving a gun, trying to work out why everyone on the planet simultaneously lost consciousness for 137 seconds.

Martin Jarvis: Voice of the nation

Described as the Olivier of audiobooks, actor Martin Jarvis is the go-to guy for aural adaptations. Tim Walker talks to the man behind the mic

Minor British Institutions: The Trollope Society

It is a fair bet that the vast majority of the British population has never picked up a Trollope – one of the 19th-century novelist's works that is, not a tart. Even for those who made the excursion into Barsetshire and got to know the Pallisers, Anthony Trollope will for ever be under the shadow of his contemporary Charles Dickens.

Leading article: Price of justice

According to Dickens, "the one great principle of the English law is to make business for itself". Nowadays it often seems that the great principle is to run up vast costs, particularly in civil litigation cases.

Fabulous Foden makes the difference for Saints

Worcester 6 Northampton 26: Full-back's moment of magic is key to unlocking hosts' stubborn resistance

Present perfect: Christmas gifts for fashion followers

From bunny ears to designer skis, from killer heels to the ultimate pair of pants, Harriet Walker has the definitive guide for the fashion follower this Christmas

One Minute With: Sandi Toksvig

The Week In Radio: When poetry becomes an adventure

If I had a fiver for everyone I've heard say, "I never watch any television apart from the news and David Attenborough", well, it would probably cover my licence fee. But while there being Nothing on TV has been a staple moan of British cultural life for some time now, radio is in far happier shape. The Rajar figures for the third quarter of the year were good for the BBC, especially Radios 3, 4 and 5 Live. There were all sorts of explanations, including the Ashes and the Proms and global economic meltdown to explain why people were reaching for the radio. Yet perhaps it comes down to the fact that radio simply does some things better.

Charles Dickens, By Michael Slater

Dickens's ruthless ambition grew from family failure. His father constantly ran into trouble with money, and was eventually imprisoned for debt. In what has become one of the most familiar episodes in any writer's life, 12-year-old Charles was sent to work in a dingy blacking factory, sitting in a window to paste labels. Idlers would gather to watch. The shame was overwhelming, but it could not crush Dickens's relish for what London offered, even to a "common labouring boy".

Boxing: A Cultural History, By Kasia Boddy

A triumph of research in an unexpected field, Boddy's lucid study starts with the Greek gagster Lucilius ("Your head, Apollophanes, has become a sieve") before moving briskly on to the boxing obsessions of Byron, who created a pugilistic scrapbook on a folding screen, and Dickens, who inserted punch-ups in works from Pickwick to Edwin Drood.

Charles Dicken's England

That a documentary about the most exuberant comic novelist who ever lived should be quite so plodding as this is really a cause for shame.

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Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
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
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea