Arts and Entertainment

The idea of The Great American Novel feels like an albatross around the neck of that country’s literature. Sooner or later every white middle-class male writer with any kind of reputation feels obliged to have a stab at it, usually with limited success. Eventually they think it’s time to pack away all the fun stuff like storytelling, energy and plot, and make some big state-of-the-nation address, telling people exactly how things stand in the good ol’ US of A. Interestingly, America’s women writers don’t tend to feel the obligation to grandstand so strongly, and their novels are usually all the better for that.

Novelist Jim Crace who has been shortlisted for the Man Booker for Harvest

Man Booker Prize 2013 shortlist announced: Jim Crace leads the six authors with his swan song Harvest

The shortlist for this year's Man Booker Prize has been announced with Jim Crace already being touted as the "marginal favourite" to take the top literary prize.

Hopefully Tomlinson will do better than during his last match

One Direction star Louis Tomlinson to don number 28 shirt in Doncaster Rovers debut

Pop star Louis Tomlinson is to fulfil a lifelong dream this month when he plays for Doncaster Rovers.

Tributes to cyclist after road death

Garry Hobson, 68, died on arrival at hospital after being struck by a car

Inside the Big Brother house 2013

Please go to the Diary Room...National Trust to open Big Brother house to the public

If you’d like enter the Diary Room, bounce on the overstuffed furniture and marvel at the close confines of a reality TV experiment that has last over a decade, now might be your chance as the National Trust is set to open the Big Brother House to the public for one weekend later this month.

Missing: my darling Jacqui... the search for a lost tulip

I found the most perfect tulip, says Emma Townshend.  She’s playful and charming and perked me right up – but now I can’t find her anywhere. Somebody help me!

I Take You, by Nikki Gemmell. Fourth Estate, £7.99

In a previous novel, The Bride Stripped Bare, Gemmell  boldly gave voice to things women think but never say, especially to lovers.

One minute with: Simon Sebag Montefiore, historian and novelist

Where are you now and what can you see?

Anna Pavord's A to Z of pests and problems: P is for passageways, pests and pruning

Our green-fingered correspondent Anna Pavord continues her A-Z of horticultural pests and problems standing between you and your perfect garden

the classified document outlines a highly-sensitive inquiry into the claims that the elderly Nazi was killed on British orders to preserve wartime secrets

Adolf Hitler's Nazi deputy Rudolf Hess ‘murdered by British agents’ to stop him spilling wartime secrets

Surgeon claims Hess was killed on British orders to preserve wartime secrets

Dale Cregan is set to die in prison with a whole life sentence for murdering four people

Dale Cregan admitted to maximum-security Ashworth Hospital

Cregan, serving four life sentences, joins Moors Murderer Ian Brady at the mental hospital

Global treaties aimed at preserving threatened wildlife have failed to identify the regions of the world with the highest proportion of endemic species that are not found anywhere else

Protected nature areas are 'focusing on places without as many endangered species'

Scientists warn the wrong kind of land is currently being protected as national parks and other types of national wildlife zones

Referee Wayne Barnes will take a zero-tolerance approach

Wayne Barnes warns referees will employ hard line over new scrum laws

Top official insists players must 'buy in' to changes and claims they are here to stay

Record numbers of “jobless” wasps are more likely to attack us because they are drunk and aggressive, the British Red Cross has warned

Drunk wasps may attack us, warns Red Cross

First aid experts advise anyone eating outside to beware stings and keep a credit card to hand

Postcard from... Galicia

Pub group Greene King poised to toast heatwave

It is always one of the most convivial AGMs of the year. The army of loyal small shareholders who will turn up to Newbury Racecourse for brewer and pub group Greene King’s annual general meeting tomorrow will be looking for upbeat trading news to be followed by a slap-up luncheon.

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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

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Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
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Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

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Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss