A still from the 1930 Hollywood film of All Quiet on the Western Front, starring future Hollywood pacifist Lew Ayres as Paul Bäumer

Literature is universal, yet reading tends to be a personal response. Some novels move the soul, and a rare handful touch a nation. Fewer still addres(...)

Jennifer Johnston’s How Many Miles to Babylon? – Nomad Theatre stage version including  Fergal McElherron and Sam Peter Corry – represented important attempts to re-examine the first World War and its legacy. Photograph: Colm Henry

War is ambivalent; for the powers that decide to wage it, it is as ancient as man, even older than Homer and is caused by expansionist greed and do(...)

The Birthday Buyer is no ordinary novel. In fact, it is shocking and relentless, theatrical and astute. Once you begin reading it, you are caught i(...)

Today is Freedom Day in South Africa: April 27th marks the anniversary of the election held in 1994 when for the first time the Black majority had (...)

A British soldier paying his respects in 1915 at the grave of a colleague near Cape Helles,  where the Gallipoli landings took place. Photograph: PA

It was 4am, still dark, with just a glimmering light, on the morning of April 25th, 1915. The sea was likened to black glass. Survivors would later(...)

Few adult love affairs ever acquire the intensity of the bonds that develop between girls about to become teenagers if apparently convinced that th(...)

Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare and Jane Austen: never mind the rampaging imperialism, says Eileen Battersby, feel the quality of England’s cultural heritage

Today is believed to be Shakespeare’s birthday, or so 18th-century biographers decided as his baptism took place on April 26th. April 23rd is most (...)

‘J was a paperkeeper.” The first sentence of Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s hilarious novella is a satiric statement of intent; J’s function is revealed but not (...)

Colum McCann: he is the only previous Impac winner on the shortlist, having won in 2011 for ‘Let the Great World Spin’. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

A wide-ranging selection of novels including last year’s Man Booker winner are among the 10 contenders for the 2015 International Impac Dublin Literar(...)

David Bennent as Oskar in Volker Schlöndorff’s 1979 film adaptation of The Tin Drum: “If there has to be the single greatest novel of the twentieth century, with all respect to James Joyce’s Ulysses and William Gaddis’s The Recognitions, this raucously mercurial debut could well be it”

Sanctuary, at least for some people, may best be found in an insane asylum. From his white-enamelled metal hospital bed, under the watchful, if bewild(...)