Diary: Tara gives it both barrels

To a gala dinner celebrating the 80th anniversary of the famed Foyles literary luncheon, where I learnt a thing or two about the perils of book signing (which, naturally, I'm filing away for future reference). "The worst thing about being an author," a tired and emotional Tara Palmer-Tompkinson assured me as she arrived, "is having such a bloody long name. My book signings take ages!"

BBC criticised over premature poppy wearing

Presenters race to pin on remembrance flowers early – before two-week appeal begins

Diary: Sincere apologies, and thinly veiled contempt

We begin with gravely distressing – though unimpeachably exclusive – news from the High Court, where the first libel-related contempt case in memory seems imminent.

Former MSP Tommy Sheridan "couldn't afford scrap News of the World court case'

Former MSP Tommy Sheridan "couldn't afford" to pull out of his legal proceedings against the News of the World, despite admitting to party colleagues allegations made in the newspaper about his private life were true, a court heard today.

Cultural Life: Jeffrey Archer, Novelist

Books
I have just read 'Up at the Villa' by Somerset Maugham, which has been re-issued by Penguin. It's set in Florence in the late 1930s and has a wonderful atmospheric feel, reminding us how very stiff upper-lipped the British used to be. It's fun.

Nevin's Notes (13/04/10)

An alternative take on the election

Nicholas Lezard: Hay is lovely, except for the festival

Having a way with written words is no guarantee of being a decent orator

Virginia Ironside: Being sent away to live with boys is no preparation for adult life

To any woman who's been involved with a man who had the misfortune to be sent away to public school, Professor Leonard's research will come as no surprise. Because we can assume that, since there aren't that many all-boy day schools, and that most boarding schools are private, the men in question are those creatures who have been sent away from home far, far, too young for there not to be some sort of damaging impact on their mental health.

The Chain of Curiosity, By Sandi Toksvig

This rumination on life's flotsum and jetsum reads like a voiceover of Toksvig's reassuringly whimiscal Radio 4 programme, Excess Baggage, complete with her lilting delivery, and inspires much the same wonderment and gentle chortles.

Boyd Tonkin: 'Back to the shop, Mr John': snobbery lives

The Week In Books

Inside Lines: Britain's superkids give great week of sport a golden Finnish

Tom Daley – and his blubbing dad – have been hogging the headlines in Rome but elsewhere in Europe more British kids were brilliantly emphasising that the nation's got real talent.

Observations: Come to the butterfly ball

What do Kate Winslet, Ricky Gervais and Tony Blair have in common? Aside from a propensity for making embarrassing speeches, that is. The answer, unexpectedly, lies with butterflies.

Michael Onslow: We need old lags in the Lords

I'm a Conservative. I like anything that looks like an ox cart but pulls like a Ferrari, and I think the House of Lords is a perfect example. It is an institution with immense virtues. The majority of people there are there on their honour, and they behave honourably. That is why everybody is so upset about the allegations. It really hurts.

Brian Viner: I share Fay Weldon's bafflement

Is the literary analysis industry made out of blancmange?
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A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
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Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
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Damien Hirst
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Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin