‘Let me live, love, and say it well...’
Is poetry more vital than ever? A survey has declared Sylvia Plath the most popular poet of all time among teenagers — ahead of William Shakespeare. Meanwhile, poetry readership is surging.
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.
Life stories: Bomb disposal in Afghanistan
An inquest is taking place into the death of Olaf Schmid, who was killed in Afghanistan in October 2009. This is his story.
Meet Barack Obama, President of the USA
Whether it's Afghanistan, Egypt or health care reforms, his opinion matters. But who is the man in The White House? And what does he find difficult?
Avoiding Armageddon: nuke treaty now in force
A new 'START' treaty has passed into law, limiting the numbers of US and Russian nuclear weapons. A step too far – or not far enough?
England: a nation of tree-huggers?
Government plans to sell off swathes of woodland have been greeted with howls of protest. Sentimental? Or a measure of our love for trees and forests?
Leaders’ roles not rocked by sex ‘n’ drugs
Over the past 20 years, the personal foibles of political leaders have been increasingly exposed to view. But can a good confession save the day?
Sacré Bleu! French culture ‘under attack’
The French Education Minister wants to expand English teaching in schools. But are language lessons a threat to the nation?
The poet may know it when others blow it
This week, the Scots drank to the poet Robert Burns and Derek Walcott won the TS Eliot prize. Now poetry wants to give St George a makeover.
Phone-hacking throws spotlight on Murdoch
Ex-PM Gordon Brown joins those who suspect their phones have been tapped. Andy Coulson may have resigned, but the story continues to grow.
Film stars are a joke for Ricky Gervais
The Golden Globes ceremony is usually all about praise. But this year, Hollywood’s finest were also the butt of jokes. Should comedy upset people?
The font of all knowledge is really ugly
Research claims we don’t remember writing that's too easy to read and learning should be struggle. So is clear writing the enemy of discovery?
'Wrinkly' TV star wins under new ageism rules
A television presenter wins her age discrimination case against the BBC. But is the world of work ready to make room for the older generation?
Are Christmas superstitions super or stupid?
There are many superstitions around the 12th night of Christmas, as decorations come down. But does superstition have any place in our modern world?