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.

Between the Covers 29/07/2012

It's fair to say that most sportsmen are no poets when they are interviewed following a big event. Most poets, however, are sporty, according to new research from the Poetry Society. The society asked 26 previous winners of their Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award about the relationship between their writing and sporting lives, and found that long-distance running and dance were the most popular forms of exercise for young poets – 65 per cent of whom claim to be "highly disciplined" at sports, 88 per cent say that there is a strong relationship between their writing and sporting lives. One even has a literature coach. This year's Foyle Young Poet judge Helen Mort says that it is the rhythm of sport that helps her writing: "Running has always been central to my writing process. Wordsworth liked to take his lines for a walk. I like to take mine for a sprint (or more often a jog) up a Derbyshire hillside." Perhaps one of them could sprint down to the Olympic stadium and help some sporting gold-medal winners to learn how to string a sentence together in time for the closing ceremony.

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