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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File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
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Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game