One Minute With: Jonathan Harvey, novelist

Where are you now and what can you see?

Singer Suggs discovers family history on Wikipedia

Suggs, the Madness frontman, found details of his estranged father on his own Wikipedia page after years of searching official records.

Dickens tops chart as classic tales remain a hit with parents

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens' 1843 classic in which the stingy Ebenezer Scrooge discovers the generous Christmas spirit, is the book parents most want to pass on to their children, according to a new poll.

The Blagger's Guide To: WilL Self

So, Will, can a sesquipedalian be lost for words?

Five-minute Memoir: Natasha Soobramanien on the baked beans that cured her writer’s block

I see now that a writing retreat is productive only if removing yourself from a life so full of distraction that you need the isolation in order to focus on your work. But if you are the kind of writer who doesn't do much of a day to merit this or any other job title, two weeks on a remote Scottish island will not help you chip away at your writer's block.

Penguin said 'Fever Pitch' was chosen because it 'struck a chord with the popular imagination'

Critics sneer as hit football novel becomes 'classic'

Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby's depiction of life as an Arsenal fan, is to join the likes of The Great Gatsby and Ulysses on the Penguin Modern Classics list – to the consternation of some critics.

Arifa Akbar: It's a funny, moving read - but Hornby's just not up there with Joyce

The question being asked is what makes a modern classic, but perhaps we should be asking who decides what makes one. In this case, it's the bods at Penguin publishing who have deemed Nick Hornby's man-bible on football obsession to be up there with the best of them.

Penguin said 'Fever Pitch' was chosen because it 'struck a chord with the popular imagination'

It all kicks off as Fever Pitch gets Classic status

Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby's bestselling depiction of life and love as a fan of Arsenal Football Club, is to join the likes of 1984, The Great Gatsby and Ulysses on the Penguin Modern Classics list – to the dismay of some critics.

When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, by Peter Godwin

Peter Godwin has written three pretty-much universally acclaimed, semi-autobiographical books about Zimbabwe. While When a Crocodile Eats the Sun is one of my favourite books of all time, I have yet to read the other two because I loved this one so intensely. It demanded so much, was so colourful, so wise, so... well, edifying, that I feel as though I have to do something amazingly heroic to earn the privilege of reading his others. It's anal, I know. I apply the same cracked logic to the books of my other all-time favourite author, Thomas Mann. Godwin – like Mann – writes literary caviar.

Mary Poppins, at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics 2012
Margaret Mahy

Margaret Mahy - Award-winning children’s author

"But Abel, though a treble, was a rascal and a rebel, fond of getting into trouble when he didn't have to sing. Pushing quickly through the people, Abel clambered up the steeple with nefarious intentions and a pebble in his sling…"

UK's Public libraries are expected to close or open for a total of 150,000 fewer hours this year

Revealed: the full cost of the cull of public libraries

More than 150 libraries have been closed or put into the hands of volunteers in the past year owing to the Government spending squeeze, with a further 225 at risk as councils look for ways of finding savings, according to research released last night.

Jewell says: 'I'm proud of the fact that I've done very little - and hence have little to worry about - and I've still got somewhere'

Lisa Jewell: 'I married someone I didn’t love. I was too polite to say no'

My first book came about over a bet I had a drunken conversation with a friend about some day writing a book, and she said, "If you write me three chapters, I'll take you for dinner at your favourite restaurant." So I did [the resulting book, Ralph's Party, was the biggest-selling debut novel of 1999], and she made me send it out to agents. When one of those agents liked it and told me Penguin wanted to pay me £120,000 to write my first two books, I thought everyone had gone mad.

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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
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor