Arts and Entertainment Nathan Filer, winner of the 2013 Costa Book of the Year

33-year-old upsets the odds with his novel 'The Shock of the Fall' - the story of a teenager's descent into mental illness

London: Capital of the world

Halfway through Europe's most glorious century, the 19th, Eugne Guinot opined "in Europe there are two capitals: Paris for the winter and Baden-Baden for the summer". This month I have visited both. However lovely the German spa town may be, it does not have the qualities of scale, diversity, wealth and culture that defines a great capital (and no, it wasn't just that I was there in the wrong season). The French capital has a stronger claim, yet it has been comprehensively out-pointed in our survey of civic greatness. London is the world's capital, and ex officio capital of Europe, the northern hemisphere and, let's speculate, the solar system.

John Rentoul: Alan Johnson could move into Prescott's office tomorrow. So why not the top job?

If there is a sudden vacancy, Johnson is surely the favourite

Peter Heath: 'Planners are learning to see waterfronts as an asset, not an obstacle'

From a speech by the principal public realm specialist of Atkins, to the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland

BOOKS: PICK OF THE WEEK

Children's Literary Festivals Tue to Fri South Bank Centre & Barbican Pit, London

REVIEWS: CLASSICAL - OAE / Norrington Queen Elizabeth Hall London oooo9

CONTRARY TO myth, the output of J S Bach was never wholly forgotten after his death in 1750. Some of the keyboard music continued to circulate in manuscript; the motets, to be sung in Leipzig, where Mozart heard one. And a belated biography in 1802 sparked new interest. But it was the first performance in a century of the St Matthew Passion, put on in Berlin in 1829 by the 20-year-old Mendelssohn, that really kick-started the great 19th-century Bach revival.

Classical Music: Dances with wolves

When she's not on stage, the pianist Helene Grimaud runs an animal sanctuary. The responsibility enriches her music, she tells Michael Church

The next Pavarotti, moi?

Juan Diego Florez is touted as the tenor to watch. After his triumphant Royal Opera run, he tells Michael Church he is shocked - but rather chuffed - at being compared to 'last century's greatest voice'

Swinging his praises

When everyone was listening to Sinatra, Ol' Blue Eyes himself was listening to the velvet-voiced Tony Bennett, who tells Anthony Quinn how he is keeping the timeless art of crooning alive

Mory Kante: In search of the colour of music

Mory Kante, the legendary West African griot, tells Tim Cumming how he combines traditional sources of music with Western instruments in his new album, Sabou
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness