World Book Day
World Book Day is a worldwide celebration marked in over 100 countries around the globe. It matters because humans think in stories, and we try to make sense of the world by telling stories. That is why we love our best writers and why they often become the story themselves. This collection of articles about authors and books is our tribute to the magical power of reading and the imagination.
Eureka! Great novels really ARE good for us
Is literature better for you than self-help? New research suggests that traveling into the mind of another person is more helpful than studiously trying to understand our own thinking.
Margaret Atwood joint winner of Booker Prize
Is Margaret Atwood a prophet? She seems to have foretold #MeToo, seen the climate crisis coming and predicted the rise of Trump. Yet she insists she sees only the present, not the future.
1984 at 70: Still relevant says Orwell’s son
Even after a lifetime, can a classic still have a message? Few novels have had such an effect, with ‘Big Brother’, ‘newspeak’ and ‘thoughtcrime’ now firmly embedded in the English language.
Booker Prize holds a mirror to our dark times
Can fiction change the world? Racism, injustice, ecological destruction — the Man Booker Prize shortlist has been unveiled, and the new novels paint a bleak picture of modern society.
The wild, difficult genius of Emily Bronte
Should we admire Wuthering Heights? The first reviewers of Emily Brontë’s dark tale of obsessive love called it “baffling” and “disjointed”. To its fans, the novel is a...
‘No one has ever read anything like this before’
Are book prizes bad for writing? Milkman, a challenging work about sexual harassment in Northern Ireland, has won the Man Booker Prize. Some writers say the award is...
Giant of American fiction Philip Roth dies
Do great writers offer great wisdom? Legendary American novelist Philip Roth has died aged 85. Love, death, sex, faith: his era-defining prose left no side of human life unexamined.
200 years later, Austen is still a sensation
Today marks 200 years since the death of Jane Austen. All over the world, “Janeites” will come together to worship the great novelist. Just what is behind her enduring appeal?
Shakespeare exposed by plagiarism detector
Is the world's greatest writer a cheat? Software normally used to outwit exam fraud has disclosed an obscure manuscript that was the source of many of the Bard's most famous lines.
How Frankenstein could save the modern world
What can Frankenstein teach modern scientists? For 200 years, the tale has gripped readers. As humans gain greater powers to control life, many...
Harry Potter and the seeds of political action
Twenty years ago today saw the release of the first Harry Potter book. The series is believed to have influenced a whole generation’s worldview....
‘Feminist sci-fi’ novel wins major award
In The Power, women are suddenly endowed with a terrifying skill. The novel is a “devastating” tale of sex, fear and control. Can sci-fi tell us as much about society as...
Anthony Horowitz told: ‘no black characters’
The celebrated author of the Alex Rider series, says he was warned it would be “patronising” to put a black person into his stories. Is it wrong for white writers to invent black characters?
The ‘timely’ dystopia of The Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Atwood’s terrifying work of “speculative fiction” is 32 years old. But as a new TV adaptation is launched in Trump’s America, its fans say the story is more relevant than ever…