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The Canterbury Tales is our reading group book for September

A big one this month – Chaucer’s 14th-century masterpiece. Please join me for a long but much revered pilgrimage The Canterbury Tales has come out of the hat and will be the reading group choice for...

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Alexander Shihwarg obituary

iMy friend Alexander Shihwarg, who has died aged 95, invested in, and helped to create, restaurants in London such as the Golden Duck, Nikita’s and the Ebury Wine Bar. Shura, as he was widely known,...

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Elizabeth Siddall: pre-Raphaelites' muse finally gets her own voice, 150...

Best known as the model for Millais’ much loved Ophelia painting, a new book hopes to foreground her own work as a poet Her pale face floating amongst the reeds, Elizabeth Siddall is best remembered as...

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Amit Chaudhuri: ‘All non-western literature is wilfully underrated’

The author on the importance of DH Lawrence, how Alice Munro inspired him, and early memories of reading Ladybird books in Bombay The book I am currently readingElizabeth Hardwick’s Collected Essays....

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Poem of the week: Aristocrats by Keith Douglas

A horse and his rider are twisted into grotesque coalescence by violent warfare, in this remarkable and direct poem Aristocrats: “I think I am becoming a God” The noble horse with courage in his eye...

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The Canterbury Tales: Chaucer's 'plein speke' is a raucous read

Newcomers to the Canterbury Tales may expect piety – but this trip with Chaucer’s motley crew is more like a blowout in Magaluf The opening lines of the Canterbury Tales are among the most famous in...

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The 50 biggest books of autumn 2018

From Haruki Murakami to Michelle Obama, what to read this season Continue reading...

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On my radar: Tracy K Smith’s cultural highlights

The Pulitzer-winning poet on a captivating animation, a powerful opera and a hideaway in AlaskaBorn in Massachusetts, poet Tracy K Smith studied at Harvard and Columbia universities. Since 2003 she has...

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Poem of the week: The Barber Shop by Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke

A sharp reflection on the sight of a male muse getting his hair cut provides a neat invitation to read more contemporary Greek poetry The Barber Shop A white rose,the barber’s towelaround your...

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US losing appetite for reading fiction, research finds

Survey by National Endowment for the Arts records sharp fall in the number of adults who read novels and short stories The number of adults in the US reading novels and short stories has hit a new low,...

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Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting by Shivanee Ramlochan review – fierce fantasy

Women, queer and non-binary voices are loud in the face of repression in a poetry collection that bridges fantasy and reality in modern Caribbean society Shivanee Ramlochan may not yet be widely known...

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Danez Smith becomes youngest winner of Forward poetry prize

Chair of judges Bidisha pays tribute to collection Don’t Call Us Dead’s ‘passionate and very contemporary’ verse The 29-year-old African American poet Danez Smith has beaten writers including the US...

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Sex, drugs and social media – Hooked review

Science Gallery, LondonSugar, shopping, cash, drugs, booze and smartphones … this great show details how artists have responded – and succumbed – to addictive vices down the ages Can you become...

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George the Poet says police stereotyping was behind strip-search

Spoken-word artist says search was unjustified and officers were rude to his parents The acclaimed spoken-word artist George the Poet has said police strip-searched him because officers stereotype...

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The Dark Interval: Letters for the Grieving Heart – review

Rainer Maria Rilke’s letters of condolence reveal how the process of mourning can make us wholeRainer Maria Rilke had written 14,000 letters by the time of his death in 1926, aged 51. This slender...

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Poem of the week: Reformation by Fred D’Aguiar

A compact glimpse of an exploited, despoiled world, this small work offers very large resonances Reformation All thingspolished Continue reading...

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I Wish I Was a Mountain review – jazzy Hermann Hesse tale is stunning

The Egg, BathWith two turntables, a street’s worth of houses and a German fairytale, performance poet Toby Thompson creates a beautiful show for over-sevens Children live in the moment but by around...

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Poet in da Corner review – thrilling grime musical leaves you Dizzee

Royal Court, LondonDebris Stevenson tells how grime became her salvation in a show that explores race, representation and authenticity In 2003, Dizzee Rascal won the Mercury prize for the seminal grime...

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Robin Robertson: ‘The poetry world is polarised. I’m in the middle, vaguely...

The Man Booker shortlisted writer on his love for Jane Bowles and biographies, and why he never gives books as presents The book I’m currently readingAs always, I have submissions to read (I work in...

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Romance, regrets and notebooks in the freezer: Leonard Cohen’s son on his...

Almost two years after the musician and poet’s death, Adam Cohen explains how his father’s efforts to finish his last collection The Flame ‘bought him some time on Earth’ Exclusive: read three poems...

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