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.

The 10 best children's cookbooks

It's never too early to learn your way around a kitchen. Here's where to find the top recipes to get them started.

How We Met: Chris Columbus & Ned Vizzini

'Watching a game of Quidditch with the man who put it on the map was surreal'

My life in travel: Rageh Omaar

'On safari in Kruger National Park, we ate breakfast beside a pod of hippos'

Review: Poison, By Sarah Pinborough

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to bed we go

Travel Agenda

From mapping Manhattan and California cool to leather luggage

Judi Dench (Alice Liddell Hargreaves) and Ben Whishaw (Peter Llewelyn Davies) in Peter and Alice

First night: Peter and Alice at the Noel Coward Theatre is a rare Grandage dud

Peter and Alice seemed to have everything going for it. It marks the reunion of director Michael Grandage and the three-times Oscar-nominated author, John Logan, with whom he had such a success on both sides of the Atlantic with Red, the latter's play about Mark Rothko. It mouthwateringly deposits Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw on the same stage (on screen, they have appeared together as M and Q and in the Logan-scripted Skyfall). And, last but not least, the play kicks off from a premise that yammers with potential.

Chinua Achebe writing in his office at Brown University in 2012

Chinua Achebe: Novelist and dissident whose work reclaimed Africa's history

Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian author and dissident who has died at the age of 82, learnt early in life that words can lead to a lot of pain. It happened when he was at secondary school in colonial Nigeria. Turning to a fellow pupil, he asked in his native Igbo language: ''Nyefe M ncha ahu'' [pass me the soap]. For not using English, Achebe's English headmaster gave him a beating he remembered all his life.

Michael Morpurgo is investigating the state of child literacy

War Horse author Michael Morpurgo writes new play about WW1 Christmas truce

War Horse author Michael Morpurgo has written a new play about the Christmas truce of the First World War.

Chinua Achebe writing in his office at Brown University in 2012

'Father of modern African literature' Achebe, 82, dies after short illness

Chinua Achebe, described as the “father of modern African literature” who inspired generations of writers across the continent, has died at the age of 82. 

Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds stars of The Croods

The Croods stars Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds cringe at the sound of their own voices

They've both helped make millions at the box office and are two of Hollywood's most sought after talents, but The Croods voice stars Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone say they still get self-conscious hearing themselves on film.

Why are educationists so afraid of cultural excellence?

We should lead children to appreciate the finest in literature, music and all the arts

Sarah Lamb in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Royal Opera House, London

In The Royal Ballet’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a late switch of heroines makes less difference than you’d think. On opening night, Sarah Lamb stepped in for an indisposed Lauren Cuthbertson – a dancer who has suffered more than her share of illness, missing several high-profile performances in the past few months. Lamb is a perky Alice, but Christopher Wheeldon’s 2011 ballet is more about dazzling illusions than about his heroine.

My life in travel: Anthony Horowitz

'It's about everyday life, not monuments'

Actress Emma Watson has turned down the role of Cinderella in Kenneth Branagh's new film

She shan't go to the ball: Emma Watson turns down role in Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella

The slipper doesn't fit for Emma Watson who has turned down the title role in Kenneth Branagh’s new film Cinderella.

Goodbye Kansas: James Franco charms the locals in Oz the Great and Powerful

Film review: Oz the Great and Powerful - You thought the Wizard should be left alone? Step this way …

So, how did Oz gets its Wizard? This question has never exercised me for more than a nanosecond, but as redundant as Oz the Great and Powerful might seem, this Disney prequel turns out to be something of a classic: a family friendly fantasy which delivers as an affectionate prologue to The Wizard of Oz, that works just as well as a spectacular, neatly structured stand-alone adventure. It's directed by Sam Raimi, who once again brings irresistible enthusiasm to cartoonish genre entertainment, but it could also pass for the best Tim Burton film in a long time, and the best Terry Gilliam film in even longer.

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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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