Lost for words: The curse of writer's block

Britain's Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion, is not the first writer to admit that he has, at one time or another, lost the ability to put pen to paper, reports John Walsh

Richard Ingrams Week': Jobs for Americans and Australians, but not Brits

ETS, the American firm responsible for the recent SATs marking fiasco, has now been put in charge of English language tests for immigrants. In other words, they will have the power to decide who is allowed to settle in this country under the Government's newly introduced regulations.

Cover Stories: Political memoirs; the environmental Bible; Dorling Kindersley

* Political memoirs have made headlines this week, though it remains to be seen if that translates into sales. Back when the late Richard Crossman published his memoirs in the 1970s, politicians had something to say and weren't just doing it for the money; publishers would fall over themselves to sign them up. Times change, and this week Paddy Ashdown signed with Aurum Press, a tiny publisher whom agent Michael Sissons would once not even have considered. And this despite his book being "packed with both political revelations and wonderful anecdotes". Ken Livingstone is now on the market, agented by Curtis Brown MD Jonathan Lloyd, whose portfolio includes Jeffrey Archer and Edwina Currie. Whom will he persuade to come to the table?

First Night: Never So Good, National Theatre, London

Macmillan, from boy to man, portrays the inside Tory

Miles Remembered: Hangovers can be a profitable part of life (16 March 1987)

Miles Kington, who died last week, wrote a much-loved daily column in this paper for two decades. In his honour, we are reproducing some of his finest writing

Red mullet en papillotte

Serves 4

Swansea City 2 Barnsley 2 <i>(Aet; Barnsley win 4-3 on pens):</i> Colgan atones for clanger as Barnsley go up

Swansea left crestfallen in Cardiff after shoot-out failure of Akinfenwa and Tate

Spywriter Tory may join Aitken and Archer out in the cold

The smooth-talking spywriter Rupert Allason could face jail after losing court case

Celebrity Companions: Love me, love my pet

Engelbert Humperdinck's reunion with his lost dog yesterday showed just how much stars depend on their animals for loyal support. Paul Kelbie says aaaah

Mark Thatcher is bad for Howard, but he's not so good for Blair, either

The latest instalment in the Improbable Adventures of Mark Thatcher must be unwelcome to both Tony Blair and Michael Howard as they prepare for the new political season. Howard's difficulty is perhaps more obvious than the Prime Minister's. The Conservative leader needs this kind of reminder of his party's past in the same way that he needs cartoonists to be reminded that his family come from Transylvania.

The Archer connection

One of the most fascinating questions about the Equatorial Guinea affair is what role, if any, has been played by Jeffrey Archer. The disgraced peer issued a strangely worded denial earlier this month when it emerged that a credit transfer in the name of "JH Archer" had been made to Simon Mann's firm three days before the date allegedly set for the coup attempt.

The Saturday Profile: Robert Kilroy-Silk; the self-styled saviour of Britain

You'd probably have to hammer a stake through the heart of Robert Kilroy-Silk to finish him off properly.
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
Vincenzo Nibali of Italy and the Astana Pro Team races to fourth place in the individual time trial
tour de franceas fourth place in time-trial sees him ride to Paris glory on Sunday
Tour de France competitor Bartosz Huzarski’s legs have highlighted the gruelling nature of the race, after he posted a picture on Facebook showing extremely prominent veins stretching from his feet and all the way up his legs
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride