Two women sit among the debris in the aftermath of the German bombardment of Leningrad in 1942. Photograph: D Trakhtenberg/ Slava Katamidze Collection/ Getty Images

On the anniversary of the end of the siege of Leningrad, Eileen Battersby celebrates a book that captures the heroism and misery o(...)

Primo Levi: “My Jewish identity took on a great importance following my deportation to Auschwitz. It is very likely that without Auschwitz I would never have written, and would have given only a little weight to my Jewish identity.”  He wrote in order to tell the world what happened. In time he would come to resent the literary world that regarded him not as an artist, only as witness. Photograph: Getty Images

Eileen Battersby recalls the day she met Primo Levi and assesses his career

David Malouf: poet and storyteller, he is one of the world’s finest writers and the surest way to experience his rare art is to simply read all of his elegant, graceful work. Photograph: Michael Stuparyk / Toronto Star via Getty Images

To mark Australia Day, our Literary Correspondent celebrates her literary wizards of Oz

Jenny Williams: the Dublin-based academic explored Hans Fallada’s life and motivations  in an outstanding biography, More Lives Than One, which was published in 1998 and in a revised edition drawing on additional material in 2012. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Irish academic Jenny Williams played a key role

Not just a pawn: Hans Fallada

Novelist’s daring chronicle provides a keyhole view of the daily paranoia of life under the Nazis

Seek out a copy of The Adventures of Shola by the Basque writer Bernardo Atxaga who wrote it in Euskera before translating the four individual stories into Spanish. Mikel Valverde’s illustrations are most expressive and the English translation comes courtesy of the great Margaret Jull Costa. If anything can succeed in hauling us through this most blue day of dark days, it is this book

Today is the most depressing day of the year. So what you need is a good book about a dog

Spy thriller is a labour of loyalty to the underrated and original Johnson

Photograph: Viktor Gårdsäter

Review: A bland Scandinavian debut novel about a failing marriage – and a hamster – demonstrates just how difficult it can be for (...)

Detail from Turner’s ‘A light in the Darkness’. Photograph: Alan Betson,

Every January Turner’s watercolours are put on show as requested in Henry Vaughan’s bequest

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