Arts and Entertainment

There is a certain pleasure (however smug) in being ahead of the curve when spotting a particularly gifted writer, and a certain regret when the masses catch up with your discovery. The latter, of course, is the state desired by author and publisher, and Peter May has now made the transition from connoisseurs’ taste to popular bestseller.

In the Orchard, the Swallows, By Peter Hobbs

Despite the protagonist's years of suffering, this evocative prison story is a testament to the endurance of love and hope

KIM JONG-IL: In the 1960s, the‘Dear Leader’, in charge of propaganda, encouraged a personality cult

How myths and lies created a nation in thrall to its leader

David McNeill, who visited Pyongyang last year, found the mark of the ruling dynasty on every aspect of life in North Korea

The stars of the TV series Glee in full song

Band Aid's Christmas No 1 is given the Glee treatment

US TV stars will boost charity by introducing song to a new generation

Somalia: Famine risk recedes as aid gets through

Conditions for those affected by famine in Somalia have improved dramatically and unexpectedly in recent weeks, with the number of people now at imminent risk of starvation falling by two-thirds, according to the UN.

Islamists hit famine relief

Famine has eased in some parts of southern Somalia, but an Islamist insurgency continues to disrupt aid to a quarter of a million people in danger of starvation, the United Nations says.

Dirty Snow, By Georges Simenon (trs Marc Romano and Louise Varese)

L'Etranger in a strange land

Militants' exit from Mogadishu opens the way for famine relief

Mogadishu residents awoke yesterday to find that war had left the city for the first time in four years as Islamic militants al-Shabaab withdrew unexpectedly from their positions in the Somali capital.

Aid teams struggle to cope as Somali famine spreads

The famine gripping parts of southern Somalia has spread to three more areas, with the entire south likely to be declared a famine zone within the next six weeks.

UN warns that Somalian famine is spreading

The famine gripping parts of southern Somalia has spread to three new areas of the country, the United Nations warned yesterday, with the entire south likely to be declared a famine zone within the next six weeks. A famine was declared in two areas in the south in July, and the UN said the response has been inadequate.

Rain destroys starving refugees' shelters

Tens of thousands of famine-stricken Somali refugees were cold and drenched after torrential rains pounded their makeshift structures early yesterday in the capital, leading to appeals for aid.

Famine victims refused access to Kenya's showpiece refugee camp

Authorities fear the new 'Ifo II' could be overwhelmed, reports Emily Dugan from Dadaab

IoS appeal: Give a day’s pay for Africa

The famine in the Horn of Africa is now claiming 250 lives a day – and it will get much worse without immediate, substantial aid. The Independent on Sunday is asking its readers, their friends and families to join with its senior staff and each pledge one day’s pay to charity.

More than 2 million Somalis 'out of aid groups' reach'

Aid agencies are unable to reach more than two million Somalis facing starvation in the famine-struck Horn of Africa country where Islamist insurgents control much of the worst-hit areas, the UN's food agency said today.

Leading article: No excuses when it comes to famine

The debate about whether aid is a sound way of reducing poverty in developing nations is necessary and important. But what both sides agree upon is that it is essential to make a distinction between normal intergovernmental subventions and emergency famine relief.

Leading article: Foot-dragging while people starve

It is always difficult to know what to make of reports of imminent famine in Africa. Aid agencies are talking of 10 million people facing critical shortages of food. Cynics, by contrast, insist that most aid is wasted by corrupt governments. We gave last time, they say, and nothing has got any better.

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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