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.

Sport
Luiz Felipe Scoalri holds his hands on his head after watching Brazil succumb to a 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands
Globo Esporte claims Brazil's football confederation (CBF) not renew Scolari's contract
Sport
World Cup 2014
Sport
Rihanna celebrates Germany's win
Sport
Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel Shop See all offers »
India and Nepal
14 nights from £2,159pp Find out more
Dutch Masters
five nights from £679pp Find out more
La Robla and Rioja
nine nights from £1599pp Find out more
Classical Spain
six nights from £539pp Find out more
California and the Golden West
14 nights from £1,599pp Find out more
Bruges
three nights from £259pp Find out more
Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor