Voices

You will look in vain for an ode to broccoli. And that is because broccoli is rubbish

Review: Shire, By Ali Smith, with images by Sarah Wood

Bewitching, at least three times over

The Leisure Society, Alone Aboard the Ark (Full Time Hobby)

Album review: The Leisure Society, Alone Aboard the Ark (Full Time Hobby)

The Leisure Society's third album is a quintessential curate's egg, with plenty of earnest folk-rock strummage, and a few brilliant highlights distracting from several songs as weak as their punning titles, notably “Life Is a Cabriolet” and “One Man and His Fug”.

Jarvis Cocker, Lionel Shriver and Claire Tomalin to headline Southbank's London Literature Festival

Jarvis Cocker might seem an unlikely contender to headline a literature festival, but it seems the former Pulp frontman really does have a thirst for knowledge.

Let's turn the page on inappropriate book covers

In the last fortnight Sylvia Plath's 'The Bell Jar' and 'Anne of Green Gables' have had their covers sexed-up to try and appeal to new audiences

Splendid isolation in Yorkshire: A creative writing course in the shadow of Sylvia Plath

Last June when I arrived at Lumb Bank, a forbidding granite farmhouse above Hebden Bridge, the house manager Becky didn't take my luggage, but she did take a weight off my shoulders: "There's no television, radio or internet connection here," she mentioned breezily as she showed me to a small, sparse bedroom. It struck me then that a holiday might be as simple as removing the white noise of everyday life for a while. And that, I thought guiltily, includes my two small children whom I had left with my wife. But guilt passes. And in my case, quickly.

The Bell Jar

'An insult to women everywhere' - Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar gets a 'chick lit' makeover

Publisher Faber is facing a serious backlash from disgruntled readers

Dame Margaret Drabble deposits archive at Cambridge University Library

Dame Margaret Drabble has deposited 90 boxes of papers, including original drafts of her novels and letters to fellow writers including Ted Hughes and Harold Pinter, at the Cambridge University Library.

Prom 21: Aldeburgh WO/Elder, ***; Prom 22: Keith/BBC Phil/Noseda, ****

Formed in Aldeburgh only a few weeks ago, and drawing in musicians from four continents, the Aldeburgh World Orchestra is the newest youth band to grace the Proms, and under Mark Elder’s direction it gave a noble account of Britten’s "Sinfonia da Requiem".

Katy Guest: Rant & Rave (11/03/12)

Rant

Killer bees and vintage bonnets

Independent Bath Literary Festival

Fretwork/Wilkinson/Courtenay, Kings Place, London

Winter solstice: the longest, darkest night of the year. How better to spend it than with a top soprano, a theatrical knight, and six viols, and where better than in the soft blue gloom of Kings Place? All came with promising baggage: the Fretwork ensemble had just released a remarkable viol-arrangement of Bach's 'Goldberg Variations'; Clare Wilkinson had dazzled us a few days previously with her a cappella exploits with I Fagiolini; and Sir Tom Courtenay – well, we knew where he was coming from. Fretwork would provide instrumental music, Courtenay would give us poems.

Unseen Sylvia Plath drawings go on show

A collection of 44 drawings by the poet Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) never previously exhibited in this country go on show at the Mayor Gallery in London tomorrow. The sketches were given to Plath's daughter, the artist Frieda Hughes, by her poet father and Plath's former husband Ted before he died.

Tweet nothings: Readers reveal their worst dates

On Tuesday night Rhodri Marsden tweeted about a terrible date in 2002. It led to hundreds of his 15,000 Twitter followers sharing theirs online. Here are some of the best @ replies

Katy Guest: Mumsnetters have a code, and they are not alone, BTW

Look away now, all of you who thought that SMOG was an acronym for a society of geeks called the Secret Masters of Gaming.

Woman who helped launch Larkin dies

Jean Hartley, the Yorkshire housewife who discovered the poems of Philip Larkin, has died aged 78.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
News
i100
Extras
indybest
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick