Simon Singh leads calls for politicians to get stalled Defamation Bill on to statute book
Simon Lane was one of those writers whose published oeuvre is only matched by the supreme fiction of their own existence, the mythic resonance of their travels and tribulations, those who boldly spin the text of their own legend daily, or more likely nightly. He was the absolute embodiment of the English gentleman-novelist in permanent exile, a self-described "drinker with a writing problem"; it was reassuring to know that in the most distant exotic corners of the world Lane would always be there, in an impeccably stained handmade suit, propping up some impossibly dangerous bar dispensing outrageous wit and wisdom.
According to this year's nominees Martin Amis served up 'blanched stereotypes on a platter'; Salman Rushdie got 'small'; and Noami Wolf's work is 'utter drivel'
The superhero may have spun his last web
If the honours system is going to be used to punish people as well as to reward them, then it has become a nonsense. Fred Goodwin, who has just had his knighthood removed on account of his role in the banking crisis when he was chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, has not been charged with any offence, let alone convicted of one. Nor has he been formally reprimanded by the banking regulators. He was regarded with severe disapproval, but nothing more than that. Notice, too, that this was a purely political decision. It was a way of diverting popular anger at bankers' bonuses towards a supposed scapegoat.
From modest beginnings it has become one of the biggest literary festivals on earth. This year the roster of big names talking about their work includes Michael Ondaatje, Tom Stoppard, Richard Dawkins, Annie Proulx, Hari Kunzru, Shashi Tharoor and William Dalrymple, the festival's co-director.
'The best way to see the world is from a boat'
After fifteen years of a very public feud, V S Naipaul and Paul Theroux have finally buried the hatchet.
It is not two years since the offices of Martin Rynja were firebombed by fanatics who objected to his firm, Gibson Square, publishing Sherry Jones's The Jewel of Medina. Although three men were convicted of the attack, the novel, about the Prophet Muhammad's wife Aisha, has still not troubled the presses of this country.
Author Sir Salman Rushdie came to the High Court in London today to hear apologies from the writers and publishers of a book which they admitted contained falsehoods about his time under police protection.
Let's get the annual squall of outrage over first. Kieron Smith, Boy by James Kelman deserved at least a shortlist place in this year's Man Booker contest. Indeed, the beautifully observed, deeply affecting first-person portrait of a Glasgow childhood outshines Roddy Doyle's Dublin equivalent, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha – which won the prize in 1993.
Mate of the stars, judge of Best of the Booker ... and yet the husky-voiced presenter is very much one of us