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.
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game