I’m not sure we learn anything from the arts – except that we need them more than ever. They are a way of knowing unlike all the others, a knowing th(...)

Fond farewell: Don Draper’s final act in Mad Men

In a year when there has been so much top-class TV, picking my 10 best programmes is tricky. Like an avid reader with a pile of books by the bed, I ha(...)

Planet Business

Image of the week: Passion and politics It probably wasn’t the most interesting conversation he has had lately, but for UK prime minister David(...)

Prince George on his way in to see his new sister on Saturday with his father Prince William. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

In Britain, the penny is dropping.Babies born in the UK on May 2nd 2015 will get a “lucky” silver penny. These new babies are getting their palms cros(...)

Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in the BBC drama series ‘Wolf Hall’. Photograph: Giles Keyte

Hilary Mantel, the Catholic-educated, Booker Prize-winning author, has created her own Reformation by changing popular perception about Thomas Cromwel(...)

Power broker: Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall

Pare it back and it’s the oldest story of all: power, loyalty and betrayal, the rise of a man from humble beginnings to the top table. Charlie, obviou(...)

Karl Miller  at an event in   Trinity College Dublin with novelists Janice Galloway,  Ron Butlin and  Alan Spence and poet Robin Robertson. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Karl Miller, who has died aged 83, will be remembered as the greatest British literary editor of his time, and one of the greatest ever. He founded, (...)

The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka (1915) Gregor Samsa’s unusual transformation from human to giant bug didn’t go down well with the Fascists and was ba(...)

Crafty: Elizabeth Gilbert in the shop she runs with her husband. Photograph: Tom White/New York Times

If an author is lucky, there comes a moment – a strange moment, quite likely – when, having laboured in isolation, one of their books is catapulted in(...)

Colm Tóibín is one of three Irish authors nominated for  the International Impac Dublin Literary Award. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Three Irish authors have been nominated for the International Impac Dublin Literary Award. The longlist, published today, consists of 152 titles propo(...)