Joan Didion: understands that, often, the only way to tell the truth is to be frank about the ways in which you are ill-equipped to do so.   Photograph: Neville Elder/Corbis Sygma

Eight or 10 years ago, I started to hear interesting reports from people I know who teach writing. Students, these writers told me, were expressing an(...)

Carl Cederström photographed by Eva Dahlin/OR Books

“He covered my mouth with his hand and introduced his penis. I thought my last hour had arrived. I had the feeling my stomach was turning.” These are(...)

My wife was talking to a mate in the corridor at work a week or so ago. “Our boy loves Blue Planet, it’s so funny. You know, even the scary bits? He (...)

What’s the point of an essay? Photograph: Thinkstock

If you judged humanity’s literary output by clicks and outrage, you’d think the art of essayism is dead. Contemporary taste is for unadorned informati(...)

Daniel Pinchbeck isn’t bothered by ridicule, and was forced into considering big questions at a young age

Daniel Pinchbeck has the pleasingly dishevelled bohemian air of a sociology professor that you might expect. Some writers don’t fit the imagined perso(...)

It may annoy some, but Elbow’s anthemic, morose-bloke style continues with the Englanders’ seventh album, and the first without original cofounder/dr(...)

In a spin: there can be pressure to exercise too hard. Photograph:  iStockphoto

Many lives are led at speeds faster than drinkers’ digits tweeting snaps of their schnapps. Unable to function at anything less than an eyeballs-out p(...)

Rebecca Solnit argues persuasively, is often funny and is articulate to a fault

In 2008 Rebecca Solnit wrote about an incident during a skiing weekend in Aspen. In the essay, the writer recounts a conversation with their host, (...)

For a long time, I avoided Stephen’s Green, or if I did go in, I ventured only into the shallows, never so far that I couldn’t retrace my steps to the(...)