Fluctuat Nec Mergitur: Paris’s motto – Latin for Tossed But Not Sunk – on the Eiffel Tower. Photograph: Reuters

In a week that has belonged to the events of Paris, there is often guilt in a radio presenter’s voice when a programme shifts to a lesser item. This m(...)

President George W Bush presents Robert Conquest with the presidential medal of freedom. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Among western historians of the Soviet Union, Robert Conquest, who has died aged 98, had a unique place. In 1989-1990 his account of the terror of the(...)

Joe Duffy:  Liveline host  joins the summer exodus of top presenters at RTÉ leaving Damien O’Reilly to hold the fort.  Photograph: Alan Betson

‘Write what you know,” said, eh, Eleanor Roosevelt? Einstein? Someone, anyway. A lack of attention to detail is not only effective as the openi(...)

WB Yeats – “I think it better that in times like these/ A poet’s mouth be silent ...”

“Never such innocence again” In his poem “MCMXIV”, looking back on the first World War two decades later, Philip Larkin writes of it as the des(...)

Peter Swanson: ‘Goldfinger by Ian Fleming... was the first adult book I read. It was filled with sex and violence and it was a real page turner. I thought: Where can I get more books like this?’

Peter Swanson is the author of two novels, The Girl with a Clock for a Heart, and The Kind Worth Killing (Faber & Faber, £14.99). His poems, st(...)

On Christmas Eve 2014, in the company of a dear friend, I attended the carol service at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. This has become a long-stan(...)

A sign at the Spanish Arch in Galway city urging people not to feed the swans.

When the British Labour party politician Alan Johnson recently played out his fantasy role as “king for a day” in the Guardian, his plan for a better(...)

Philip Larkin on reading his poetry to audiences: ‘I don’t want to go around pretending to be me.’ Photograph: Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

‘For poetry readings, the general rule is that if the poet is outnumbered it is a success.” This remark by the poet and undertaker Thomas Lynch infor(...)

Seamus Heaney’s inclusion as an Unseen Poet on Paper 2 this year has been  described by many students as “just cruel”.  Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Examiners sent Seamus Heaney astray again this Leaving Cert, as the poet turned up on the Unseen Poetry section and not in Prescribed Poetry - as many(...)

Rick Gekoski is an art collector, constantly on the lookout for rare or missing works. His passion for collecting has led him to ponder the nature of (...)