News Cacheco reads one of his poems in Mexico City; his birthplace formed the backdrop to his writing

Jose Emilio Pacheco was considered one of the finest writers in the Spanish language, winning the Cervantes Prize for Literature in 2009, the highest award for writers in what is the native language of more than 300 million people. The award from the Spanish Ministry of Culture was presented at the University of Alcala by Spain's King Juan Carlos. In his later years Pacheco became visiting Professor of Literature at the University of Essex.

Book of a lifetime: The Once and Future King, By TH White

I have loved so many books in my life that it always surprises me how easily the answer comes when people ask me about my favourite book. There is no doubt in my mind, although the question summons many beloved titles. It is 'The Once and Future King' by TH White: the book I would take to the island; the book I want by the side of my deathbed; the book I wish I had written.

Kicking myself as Lady Geek catches the IT bug

Less than one in five technology jobs are held by women. A new book, by an old friend, should make employers, parents and teachers sit up.

Here come the curls: Sheridan Smith as Hedda Gabler

Sheridan Smith signs up for Mr Stink

Gavin and Stacey star Sheridan Smith has joined the cast of BBC1's adaptation of David Walliams's book Mr Stink.

J K Rowling: The Curse of the Publisher's Hype

And so, this was it, the publishing event of the century: J K Rowling and the Publisher's Hype. The story had everything. The one million pre-orders. The profile in The New Yorker. The adulation! The vilification! You'd never guess that all Rowling did was write a book.

Salman Rushdie’s memoir of the fatwa years is ‘like nothing that has ever been written’

Memoir, by Joseph Anton

Where has this talent been hiding?

DVD: Snow White and the Hunstman (Universal)

This year's second live-action version of Snow White re-imagines the fairy tale as a dark, rain-lashed, mud-spattered epic, full of siege engines, burning villages, and all sorts of borrowings from the work of Tolkien and C S Lewis.

Invisible Ink: No 143, Noel Langley

I came to Noel Langley via a Penguin paperback of Cage Me A Peacock, a hilarious satirical version of The Rape of Lucretia that required the publisher to reassure readers with the rider: "Written with such delicacy and cool assurance that I cannot imagine anyone taking offence." But Langley could be bitingly unsentimental too. He was born in 1911 in Durban, South Africa, and moved to the US, where he went on to become a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and director. But Peacock was banned in his place of birth (mind you, The Belles of St Trinian's was also banned there).

Grimm Tales for Young and Old By Philip Pullman

A master of crossover fiction presents a fine blend of old tales and new twists

Bookshops open early to launch JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy

Bookshops opened their doors early today for readers to get their hands on JK Rowling's first novel for adults.

'Big society' makes it into Brewer's Dictionary

Big society, Chipping Norton set, app and tablet are just some of the phrases to make it into the latest edition of the Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.

Siren call: Azealia Banks, first mermaid of hip-hop

Time for a sea change: The case for mermaids to replace vampires

The boy wizard has grown up and Twilight is ending – so we need a new mythical creature to go crazy for. Gillian Orr makes the case for water babes

The 10 Best children's book sets

Keep boredom at bay on long journeys or dull afternoons this summer with pages and pages of fiction, fantasy and fun

1. Edinburgh Zoo: Adult £15.50, child £11, edinburghzoo.org.uk - Home to the UK’s only giant pandas, this is the largest and most exciting wildlife attraction in Scotland.

The 10 Best city days out

Whether you fancy learning about the planets, pandas or the plague, Britain’s city’s offer great summer-holiday outings

Stanton says of Levy: 'You know you've got a good friend when you can go on a four-day adventure in the psycho community that is the Edinburgh Festival, get out of your mind on beer, comedy and sleeplessness, and drag her to a gig at 1.30am and still get on'

How We Met: Marianne Levy & Andy Stanton

Marianne Levy, 33

L’heure espagnole, ****; L’enfant et les sortileges *****, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, East Sussex

Ravel’s small, perfectly-formed oeuvre includes just two short operas, but the second, ‘L’enfant et les sortileges’, is a masterpiece.

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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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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