News

Country's Interior Ministry denies responsibility

Russell Brand’s autobiography has been banned from Guantánamo Bay, a detained suspect has revealed.

Russell Brand’s autobiography Booky Wook 2 banned from Guantanamo Bay

'Booky Wook 2' was among literature deemed inappropriate for inmates

Michael Clarke and the Ashes: The shocking thing about sledging is not the damage it causes but how witless it is

England and Australia might just as well indulge in a spot of ice hockey-style brawling

Invisible Ink: No 199 - Sheila Hodgetts

This is a first; I can’t discover anything about Sheila Hodgetts at all. It’s as if she hid herself entirely. There once was a collectors’ guide to her books which had some biographical detail, but that’s out of print, and even her website has closed. More worryingly, the site owner is offering his complete collection of Hodgetts books for sale.

TV Review: Strange Days: Cold War Britain, BBC2

Time-traveller Sandbrook's history lesson needed more dissenting voices

Andy McSmith's Diary: Magnitsky's law will be the legacy he deserved

Our man in Westminster

Invisible Ink: No 197 - The other Sherlock Holmes writers

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s consulting detective inspired many other authors to tackle stories beyond the accepted canon. Adrian Conan Doyle picked up his father’s mantle, accompanied by John Dickson Carr (who I imagine did most of the heavy lifting) for The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes, based on 12 unexplained cases mentioned by Holmes, but these tales are now out of print.

Invisible Ink: No 195 - Roland Quiz

Victorian children’s stories were often the stuff of nightmares. As a child I inherited my grandfather’s books and was haunted by an illustration, “Karik And Valya Trapped In The Lair Of The Water-Spider” – which showed two miniaturised Russian children being wrapped in slimy webbing by a gigantic eight-legged multi-eyed horror at the bottom of a pond – from The Extraordinary Adventures of Karik and Valya, by Yan Larri.

Invisible Ink: No 193 - Harry Graham

A talent for frivolously cruel humour is not something one expects from a man with the following heavyweight CV: Jocelyn Henry Clive Graham, nicknamed Harry, was the son of Sir Henry Graham and Lady Edith Elizabeth Gathorne-Hardy.

Joey Barton

Joey Barton earns a start... at university

The notorious English footballer Joey Barton, famous for his combative presence both on the pitch and on Twitter, started a course at Roehampton University last Thursday.

Like Syria's President Assad, George Orwell created hell in paradise

My dog, Huxley, is an 11-year-old Labrador, and fortunately in peak physical condition as he survived a leap from a first-floor window last week with nothing more than some bruising. Far worse off was the startled farmer who was driving the pick-up truck that Huxley dive-bombed like some hairy Stuka. He won't be back soon. He'll be in the pub downing pints and muttering to anyone who'll listen: "He's only got bloody flying dogs up there. We should burn him, I tell you: chase him out of the county...."

Sparky Sweets PhD

Thug Notes: YouTube comic brings literary Classics to the masses hip-hop style

Sparky Sweets' self-styled "gangster" approach to education is bringing books like Jane Eyre and To Kill a Mockingbird to new audiences. Miranda Dobson meets him

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge holds the Prince of Cambridge

The Royal baby is named George Alexander Louis, but which of these Georges was he named after?

The Royal Baby name has been announced - it's George! But who was he named after? The obvious answer is any one of the King Georges I - VI who have reigned over our great nation. But there are other possibilities too...

Brian Sewell describes plans to commit suicide if health fails

Art critic Brian Sewell has described in detail his plan to commit suicide using pills and gin.

The bigger the bomb, the bigger the bully

Orwell was as right about arms technology as he was about everything else. Plus, sex sells, and live TV's condition is 'serious but stable'
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there