Philip Hensher’s novel The Northern Clemency was shortlisted  for the Man Booker Prize in 2008. Photograph: Simon James/PA Wire

What was the first book to make an impression on you? The Wizard of Oz, and especially the very weird sequel The Marvelous Land of Oz, where th(...)

The Hollande affair: perhaps a little more ‘Confessions of a Window Cleaner’ than ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses’. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

There have, in recent weeks, been few more amusing phenomena than the spectacle of the British media pondering their French counterparts’ attitude to (...)

 Mayor Ford makes a statement to the media outside his office at Toronto’s city hall this week. A new video surfaced showing Ford in a rage, using threatening words including “kill” and “murder.” Ford said he was “extremely, extremely inebriated” in the video. Photograph: AP

Something interesting is happening in the world of Canadian politics. “Oh, when is that not the case?” I hear you reply. Pay attention. This isn’t som(...)