Arts and Entertainment

It's worth remembering that fairy tales were not originally thought of as children's stories.

It's Woodstock, a celebration of writers and their words

More than 100 leading figures from the literary world will take up residence next month amid the majestic surroundings of Blenheim Palace for The Independent Woodstock Literary Festival 2010.

Authors welcome halting of paedophile database

Philip Pullman, the children's author, has accused the Labour government of using the murders of two Soham schoolgirls in 2002 as a "scare story" to persuade the public that it was necessary to create a database of adults who work with minors.

Who chooses the set-texts our children study?

As pupils do some last-minute swotting up ahead of their English GCSE exams, former teacher Susan Elkin examines the changing nature of the syllabus

Nevin's Notes (05/05/10)

>An alternative take on the election

Cultural Life: Fatima Bhutto, writer

Books: Haifa Zangana's 'Dreaming of Baghdad', a lyrical and chilling memoir of imprisonment, activism and torture in Saddam's Iraq. Also tucked into my bag, which now weighs a ton, are 'Listening to Grasshoppers' by Arundhati Roy and Philip Pullman's 'The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ' and Alba Arikha's work, which I'm discovering and loving.

Sarah Sands: Marriages founder on trivia but are immune to the Pope

The initial reluctance of Miriam Clegg to campaign with her husband was cited as evidence of her down-to-earth modesty. She had "got real" about the everyday demands of a working mother. Since then, there have been clues that the balance of power is elsewhere in this relationship.

The Week In Radio: What would Jesus have made of it all?

There's a saying they have in America that is used to fit all occasions: What Would Jesus Do? What Would Jesus Drive, for example, or What Would Jesus Vote? One programme this week asked What Would Jesus Eat?, and the suggestions, according to painters of The Last Supper, included grilled eels, crayfish and guinea pig. This prompted me to wonder what Jesus would listen to, and to hope it wasn't Monday's Start the Week.

Jesus Christ, superstar: Still the biggest – and most controversial – name in art

Philip Pullman's new novel is the latest creation to court controversy over its depiction of Jesus. Paul Taylor looks at how the artists, from Martin Scorsese to Rufus Wainwright via Monty Python, deal with the subject

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, By Philip Pullman<br />The Four Gospels

To get hold of Philip Pullman's book from its Edinburgh publisher, I had to sign a legal undertaking that made me liable to penalties "under the laws of Scotland" should I dare to breach its terms. Like all of us, Pullman needs and uses the force of traditions and institutions (what he names here as "custom and authority") to protect his dignity and his interests. You might hear from other sources that this re-telling and re-interpretation of the Gospel narratives for Canongate's "Myths" series sets the spontaneous, impulsive goodness of Jesus against the power-mad, repressive apparatus of the "church", which Pullman embodies in the figure of Jesus of Nazareth's sinister twin brother, "Christ". In fact, this story about the meaning of stories is open to quite the opposite interpretation – and Pullman knows it very well.

Boyd Tonkin: A velvet revolution on the shelves

The Week In Books

Album: The White Stripes, Under Great White Northern Lights (Third Man/XL)

As the notion of concert performance retreats ever further into the pre-programmed bowels of a computer, the great live album is virtually a thing of the past.

E Jane Dickson: You don't need to teach kids about advertising

Teach a child to count and he&rsquo;ll soon get the hang of commercial constraints

Mary Dejevsky: It is not only the young who suffer

The plight of innocent children is used as a way to infiltrate hearts &ndash; and wallets

Climbdown over plan to vet contact with children

Nationwide outrage kills off scheme that could have criminalised millions of innocent helpers

Traveller's Guide To: Lapland

Santa may be the big draw in this vast wilderness, but there is culture, wildlife and a magnificent light show to enjoy too, says Harriet OiBrien
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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own