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Writer and philosopher whose work, beginning with ‘The Outsider’, searched for the meaning of man’s existence

Food for Thought: Conor McPherson

The Irish dramatist and director's play 'The Weir' moves to the West End in January, and his adaptations of the Dublin-based crime noir Quirke stories are due to be screened by BBC. Here he shares with Charlotte Cripps his recent reading, watching and surfing …
Alex Waldmann (Bertram), Charlotte Cornwell (Countess of Rossillion)

Theatre review: All's Well That Ends Well, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

All's Well That Ends Well is amongst the least loved of Shakespeare's comedies and though there have been a couple of excellent revivals in the Swan in the past couple of decades, it's been twenty five years since the RSC last mounted it on the main stage.

Best behaviour, Winston Churchill?

Would Winston Churchill have failed the Tories' new Google test to seek out past indiscretions?

Well yes, but not just because he wouldn’t know what it was. Would-be MPs are being asked to check their online reputations. Luckily,  Winston never had to

The former Bryn Estyn Children's Home in Wrexham

Jillings Report: Abuse 'still not being tackled' at children's homes in Wales, 17 years after report was suppressed

Supressed account finds 'appalling' and 'extensive' history of abuse in North Wales in the 1970s and 80s

Autumn Celebration, Sadler’s Wells, London

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Autumn Celebration is overpacked but full of energy. From the sprinting dancers of David Bintley’s Faster to the flitting Shakespearean fairies of The Dream, this is a company in exuberant form.

Rubinstein: he couldn't see why people made such a fuss about money

Hilary Rubinstein: Celebrated literary agent and publisher

Hilary Rubinstein lived during a golden age of publishing, when publishers and literary agents (and he'd been both) were gentlemen, kept their words and always answered your letters. His long and mostly happy life was marked by his enthusiasms: for his family, for good books of every sort, for small, owner-run hotels and for chocolate. He was the youngest of three sons of a very old Anglo-Jewish family. One ancestor, a quill-maker, averted an attempt on the life of George III, and was rewarded with the royal warrant for quills.

The Monday Book: Pantheon by Sam Bourne

Britain in 1940. Europe is torn apart by war, but America is not persuaded that it should join the fight against the Nazis.

Michael Mansfield : Abolishing meat is an ethical issue that requires everyone's attention

As a barrister, I seek justice for people and defend their rights. As a vegetarian, I like to think that I take a stand against injustice for those who happen not to have been born human and so are confined and killed for their flesh.

Odd man out: Matthew Rhys, Tamzin Merchant and Freddie Fox star in 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood'

Edwin Drood: The mysterious appeal of Dickens' darkest tale

Gwyneth Hughes explains how she adapted a great literary whodunit for TV

Hugh Burnett: Television producer who created the legendary series 'Face to Face'

As the creator of the legendary interview series Face to Face for the BBC in 1959, in which public figures were subjected to a stark interview by the relentless John Freeman, Hugh Burnett's place in television history is secured.

One Man, Two Guvnors, NT Lyttelton, London<br/>Pygmalion, Garrick Theatre, London<br/>Fissure, The Dales, Yorkshire

A revived 18th-century comedy, set in Sixties Brighton, is full of beans...and James Corden

Pygmalion, Garrick Theatre, London

Last year, a highbrow glossy magazine asked me to nominate one classic drama that might well not get the green light in our current cultural climate. With my tongue hovering close to my cheek, I proposed George Bernard Shaw's acute, glittering comedy Pygmalion (1913). I suggested that in our era of job-swap, wife-swap and life-swap programmes, Shaw's concept would be found wanting. His Professor Higgins conducts an experiment to prove the arbitrariness of social distinctions by training a cockney flower-seller to talk posh. But given our present-day appetite for the inauthentic and the provisional, Shaw would be forced to invent a situation whereby the professor and Eliza Doolittle switched roles for a week, with Eliza trying to fake it as a phonetician and Higgins struggling to come over all gor-blimey flogging blooms.

All&rsquo;s Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare&rsquo;s Globe, London

Shakespeare's Globe is on a high. It kicked off this season with a star performance (from Joshua McGuire) in a wonderfully clear and accessible touring version of Hamlet (directed by Dominic Dromgoole). Now it inaugurates its main stage repertoire with a production of All's Well That Ends Well that one would say takes the roof off the theatre, had the theatre a roof.

GK Chesterton: A Biography, By Ian Ker

The sanctifying process that preserved so many early 20th-century literary figures in the popular imagination never really caught up with GK Chesterton (1874-1936). HG Wells is briskly re-imagined every half-decade or so, the shade of George Bernard Shaw stalks on through Michael Holroyd's three fat volumes of biography, but the standard life of the author of The Man Who Was Thursday (1908) dates back to the year of the Normandy landings.

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