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Top 10 books about tumultuous times

From paranoid Roman emperors to Winston Churchill’s war cabinet, here are some outstanding history books and novels exploring era-defining decisions made under pressureThere’s nothing like a crisis of survival to show people’s true natures. Though I’ve written a good deal about tumultuous times, both fiction (English Passengers) and non-fiction (Rome:...

Rowling, Rushdie and Atwood warn against ‘intolerance’ in open letter

Harper’s letter asserts way to ‘defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion’, but critics accuse authors of censorious mentalityJK Rowling, Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood are among the signatories to a controversial open letter warning that the spread of “censoriousness” is leading to “an intolerance of opposing views” and “a vogue...

JK Rowling, Rushdie and Atwood warn against ‘intolerance’ in open letter

Harper’s letter asserts way to ‘defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion’, but critics accuse authors of censorious mentalityJK Rowling, Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood are among the signatories to a controversial open letter warning that the spread of “censoriousness” is leading to “an intolerance of opposing views” and “a vogue...

August by Callan Wink review – coming of age in rural America

The shadow of the Southern Gothic imbues this debut novel with a subtle sense of forebodingAugust, the eponymous hero of Callan Wink’s debut novel, receives his fair share of unwanted advice. Mostly from other men, mostly about women. He does his level best to forget it all and strike out on his own.Like Wink’s previous stories, August is set in the...

Dear NHS: 100 Stories to Say Thank You edited by Adam Kay – review

Tales of embarrassing injuries and moments of poignance, plus some poor efforts, in a revealing collection of essaysIn 2018 Daisy May Cooper, who writes and stars in the BBC comedy This Country, was recovering in hospital after giving birth to her first baby, Pip, by emergency caesarean section. She was feeling emotional, although that had less to do...

Reading group: we're reading White Teeth by Zadie Smith in July

After astounding and confusing critics in 2000, Smith’s landmark debut is turning 20 as an established classic. Which should make it a cracking tale to read togetherZadie Smith’s White Teeth has come out of the hat and will be the subject of July’s reading group. Which feels like a great thing for all sorts of reasons – not least that this year marks...

Poetry book of the month: Antiemetic for Homesickness by Romalyn Ante – review

An NHS nurse pines for her native Philippines in her captivating debut as a poetRomalyn Ante is a nurse who came to the UK from the Philippines when she was 16 and is now based in Wolverhampton. This collection, her captivating debut, gives insight into her life: the everyday labour of working for the NHS – with its emergencies – offset by memories...

Final Terry Pratchett stories to be published in September

Many stories in The Time-travelling Caveman – written by Pratchett when he was a journalist in the 60s and 70s – have never been published in a bookScroll down to read one of the short storiesThe final collection of early stories from the late Terry Pratchett, written while the Discworld creator was a young reporter, will be published in September....

'Living legend' Linton Kwesi Johnson wins PEN Pinter prize

The pioneer of dub poetry has been hailed for his ‘political ferocity’ and ‘tireless scrutiny of history’Linton Kwesi Johnson: ‘It was a myth that immigrants didn’t want to fit into British society. We weren’t allowed’ Linton Kwesi Johnson has won the PEN Pinter prize, with the Jamaican dub poet’s “political ferocity” and “tireless scrutiny of history”...

Antiemetic for Homesickness by Romalyn Ante review – tales of yearning

An NHS nurse pines for her native Philippines in her captivating debut as a poetRomalyn Ante is a nurse who came to the UK from the Philippines when she was 16 and is now based in Wolverhampton. This collection, her captivating debut, gives insight into her life: the everyday labour of working for the NHS – with its emergencies – offset by memories...

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