Thomas Mann

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Michelle Walsh at Lake Alster in Hamburg:  ‘Amidst all the industry and the ships and the high-rise buildings, there are beach clubs and river side restaurants and concerts that soften this industrial vista.’

After two years of perennial sunshine, sticky humidity and negotiating my way through the cultural labyrinth that is Africa, I decided it was time for(...)

 Madeleine Thien and the cover of her book, ‘Do Not Say We Have Nothing’. ‘This is a brave, bold and intelligent novel, weighty with a sense of responsibility.’ File photograph: Man Booker Prize/PA Wire

Big names and expected contenders were among the fallers as the shortlist for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction which includes one debut novelist,(...)

Longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker International prize:  Israeli author Amos Oz. Photograph: Dan Porges/Getty Images

Four possible Nobel literature laureates, Israelis Amos Oz and David Grossman, Albanian Ismail Kadare and Yan Lianke, who is a banned writer in his na(...)

American decorator Carleton Varney, owner of the upscale decorating company Dorothy Draper & Company and author of more than 30 books

Brian Burns, Donald Trump’s choice as the next US ambassador to Ireland, has asked US interior designer Carleton Varney  to revamp Deerfield, the(...)

Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt in Bonn, West Germany, in  1975.  After being ousted after eight years in power in 1982, he went on to become one of Germany’s most influential public intellectuals. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

His obituaries will say that he was a Hamburg native but Helmut Schmidt was, in his essence, a Hanseat. A Hanseat is as much a state of mind of the na(...)

‘Reading is a choice. Not only in the obvious sense of taking up a book, or taking up one book and not another, but when reading the book at hand. It’s assessing the facts of the case (even the fictional ones) and seeing some as more relevant to a satisfying reading than others.’

George O’Brien is Professor Emeritus of English at Georgetown University, Washington DC. He is author of three memoirs, The Village of Longing, Dan(...)

Ketil Bjornstad: ‘Sometimes I also rent a hotel room to write in peace.’ Photograph: Benedicte Ugland/ketilbjornstad.com

Ketil Bjornstad is a Norwegian pianist, composer and author. ketilbjornstad.comWhat was the first book to make an impression on you?It must have been (...)

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 Tin Drum by Gunter Grass

It is Halloween, but it is also Reformation Day in Germany. Exactly 497 years ago Martin Luther strode up to the castle church in Wittenberg and na(...)

Marilyn Monroe relaxing at home. Photograph: Getty Images

‘This book,” writes Jacqueline Rose, “begins with the story of three women who create their lives in the face of incredible odds.” On the surface, the(...)

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